By Maureen Karwowski
As an occupational therapist who works with children who have challenges with their coordination skills, I catch myself saying “be careful” far too often. Many children with sensory processing difficulties have difficulty with body awareness, low muscle tone and decreased eye-hand coordination. I wonder just how meaningful the warning of “be careful!” is to a child struggling with these challenges. I also wonder how many times in a day a child with these challenges hear these words. My guess is too often.
Instead of general directions such as “be careful” or “watch what you are doing” a specific instruction would be more helpful. Here are 9 examples of what to say instead of “Be Careful!”
- Look at your feet so you don’t step on anything.
- Hold on tight with two hands.
- Big steps over the toys.
- You are too close to the table, walk around it.
- That bridge is wobbly, hold on tight.
- Use a gentle touch with that toy.
- Check with your eyes to make sure the coast is clear.
- Stay low so you don’t hit your head.
- Slow down so you are safe.