Welcome to The Wholehearted Mom Podcast!
Today I get to interview the lovely Sabrina Adair.
Sabrina Adair, M.Sc.O.T., is a practicing occupational therapist and a passionate advocate for parent empowerment and the best selling author of Understanding a Child the Occupational Therapy Way: Recognizing and Communicating the Unique Potential of a Child (2021).
She is a mom of four beautiful children who have taught her patience, perseverance, and compassion and that we’re all wonderfully unique individuals with our own unfolding stories.
She founded her company Enabling Adaptations, a private therapy company to focus on helping parents and caregivers to find ways to effectively understand and communicate their child’s needs in order to create positive environments where children can reach their greatest potential. Sabrina is an award-winning entrepreneur and shares her successful approach to improving children’s lives through her private practice as well as at speaking engagements, parenting workshops, and more.
In this episode Sabrina talks about why tapping into the needs of our children is so important and how to front load your child’s needs to give you some of your time back.
THE WHOLEHEARTED MOM INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY
THE WHOLEHEARTED MOM SHOW-NOTES
SPREAD THE WORD!!!
Since we’re new here, will you help spread the word? Here’s what you can do to help a mama out:
- Go to Apple Podcasts to leave a rating and review. By doing this it will be easier for other moms just like you to find us.
- Hit subscribe/follow so you never miss an episode. Shows will be released on Tuesdays.
- Share this podcast with a friend!
I appreciate you so much for showing up and joining this amazing working mom community we are starting. Thanks for listening and for your support.
Episode # 10: Front Loading Your Child's Needs To Give You Some Time Back
A little about Sabrina
Sabrina: my name is Sabrina dare. I’m a pediatric occupational therapist. But first and foremost, I’m a mom of four. So I have a 14 year old, a 12 year old, a 10 year old and an eight year old. I, started a private business called enabling adaptations, which is a virtual pediatric firm working with parents and children, to help them in their school.
Age range. And I’ve been doing that for the last five years. I’ve been an OT for, for almost 20 years, which is crazy to think of. I recently wrote a book it’s called understanding a child, the occupational therapy way, recognizing and communicating the unique potential of a child. It was released in October of 2021 and it is, available on Amazon and, indigo.
Conversation Highlights & Key Points...
What does front loading your child's needs mean?
Sabrina: So I’ll start off by saying that every one of us has unique and individual needs. And so when I talk about needs of a child, I talk about each child being a unique person.
And when we want to understand a child’s needs, we want to understand what it is that they love to do, don’t like to do, what things they crave, what they’re looking for in terms of connection, and what they’re looking for when they have behaviors.
When you can understand a little bit more about your child, likespecifically what they need, then you can actually give them some of what they needbefore they actually need it. And that’s what I mean by the word front loading.
How to front load our children's needs
- When our children need something they will continue with a behaviour or action until they get that need met. Therefore front loading our children’s needs means that we are filling their need (for example the need for quality time) before they actually feel like they need it so they are content to give us focused time on something else.
- Time block into your schedule time for meeting your children’s needs proactively. And make sure you have flex or untamed time in your schedule in case your child’s needs change unexpectedly. Because those days will sometimes happen.
- Many times, children’s need to have to be met right when they need them as long as we are conscious of how full their bucket for that need is OR there is a plan to meet that need. For example: Sabrina would schedule special one-on-one time with her son at bedtime. This gave her son something to look forward to and she could remind him of that special time when he wanted to show her something or talk about something.
- “What happens when during the day he comes to me and he needs time for me, what I can do is use my words to be able to say, Hey, I’m so excited about spending that time later with you save this story for when we have our time together orwhen he wakes up in the morning and he’s craving that attention.”
- “Say you have a child that really loves to hang onto you, to cuddle, and really loves to have physical touch. If we constantly push a child away that really wants hugs, then they’re gonna keep coming after the hugs because that’s what they need. My daughter has the need for this physical touch. So in the morning, I always make sure to give her not one, not two but three big hugs in the morning when she wakes up. And then she seems to carry her all the way throughout the day.”
Sometimes children need something different
Does age, stage of develop or life circumstances matter?
It definitely can. Some children who are younger may not be able to last as long while waiting for their need to be met or may not last as long between points when you meet their needs.
- It also depends on if their needs change. For example, if a kid has a very stressful day at school, they may come home and not be able to last that much longer because their needs have then changed. We have to be aware of their needs. So you might need to have that quality time earlier. We all have those days where the day just doesn’t go as planned.”
- We wanna try and fulfill their needs before they get to that point where they just don’t have the capacity to be able to regulate themselves.
It is easier, as a mom, to front load your child's needs when you have good boundaries in place!
Sabrina learned that her children needed their snuggle and quality time right after school. If Sabrina tried to do something else during that time it often ended in meltdowns. Now, Sabrina puts that time into her schedule as an appointment and tells others she has a client in order to protect that precious time with her children. This also allows her to have better focused time for clients later.
What can we do when our children's needs change due to stressors or life circumstance?
I gave the example of my daughter having surgery and needing extra quality time because she was stressed about this upcoming appointment.
Sabrina provided great practical suggestions and mindset shifts.
- “I think that’s where we have to give ourself grace in the fact that when stresses are higher,I always talk about it like building blocks.”
- “when stresses are higher, all the needs will become a little bit more acute, or heightened. She may cry more often because her emotional system’s gonna be heightened. She may be more picky with the clothes she wears or the food she eats. So, during times of higher stress or change it’s important to not pressure children to do uncomfortable things and to provide a little extra comfort in all areas of life. That may mean no new foods that week, comfy clothes, and a little extra quality time.
- Sabrina and I also have a really good chat about front loading experiences for our children that are stressful or anxiety provoking. Oh, and the importance of co-regulation.
Where do we start?
First you need to start by figuring out what your child’s needs are. Here are two practical ways you can begin to do this….
1) begin to really pay attention to the behaviours your child is expressing and ask yourself why this child, why now?
2) start to notice patterns – what are they always looking for or craving?
Wholehearted Mom Rapid Fire Questions...
1. What is one thing that you as a mom long for?
This exact moment, quiet-time. I’m trying your strategy of time blocking some quiet time.
I’m currently homeschooling three of my four kids and running my business.And so I long for some quiet alone time.
2. What keeps you up at night? (aka worries)
My to-do list. I have a scrap piece of paper next to my bed. I do a brain dump every night before I go to sleep – creating a to-do list of things that I either was supposed to do or need to do. That way I can get it done.
It helps me to make sure that all my kids’ needs are covered and making sure that I’m not forgetting about somewhere that they need to be or somewhere I need to be. It’s an irrational fear that’s come up; that I’m gonna miss something.
And so I just need to always write it down otherwise, that’s what keeps me up at night.
3. What is one lesson that you have learned along the way that you feel is important to pass on to other working?
I think I learned it the hard way. I struggled through some of my early mom time with my kids. But I realized that when it comes to priorities, my children have to be my priority always.
This has changed my life a lot. But I had to create a life where I could meet their needs.
And so I had to learn that the hard way. And that was a lesson that I wish I had started earlier. Because I found that I was relying on other people to meet their needs and it’s not the same.
So now I created a life that I can meet them where they are at, cuz they’re only little for so long.
I know everyone always says it goes by fast, but it truly does go by fast. I mean my 14 year old is almost six feet tall. In four years he’ll be in university. It’s crazy how fast time goes. But, we can influence and support our kids, to become good strong adults,
That are gonna be the future for this world. So we gotta remember that, that time doesn’t last, very long.
Founder of Enabling Adaptations
Sabrina Adair, M.Sc.O.T., is a practicing occupational therapist and a passionate advocate for parent empowerment and the best selling author of Understanding a Child the Occupational Therapy Way: Recognizing and Communicating the Unique Potential of a Child (2021). She is a mom of four beautiful children who have taught her patience, perseverance, and compassion and that we’re all wonderfully unique individuals with our own unfolding stories. She founded her company Enabling Adaptations, a private therapy company to focus on helping parents and caregivers to find ways to effectively understand and communicate their child’s needs in order to create positive environments where children can reach their greatest potential. Sabrina is an award-winning entrepreneur and shares her successful approach to improving children’s lives through her private practice as well as at speaking engagements, parenting workshops, and more.