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Home Exercises – Do I Have To?

Is it a struggle to convince your child or teen to do their physiotherapy homework? Is it hard to fit the exercises into the daily routine? You are not alone if you feel this way; many parents find it challenging to integrate the exercises into their child’s busy schedule.

Here are some tips to improve your child’s compliance to the exercises:

  1. Make the exercises a family affair. Participate in the homework with them, that way your child will do the exercises and you can reap the benefits too.
  2. Forward the program to the coach, trainer or gym teacher and have your child do the exercises at school or practices. This is also a way for your child’s coach or teacher to understand the injury and monitor his/her progress through the rehabilitation program.
  3. TV time – this is a great time to multitask. Encourage your child to do the exercise program while watching their favorite show.
  4. Post the exercise program in a common place where the child normally plays or your teen hangs out.  If the exercise involves using the stairs, post the picture of the exercise on the stairs to encourage your child to do the exercise prior to going up the stairs.
  5. As a reminder, post the program on a mirror. Often times, exercises are performed best in front of the mirror.
  6. Have the Physiotherapist e-mail an electronic copy of the exercise to your child. That way they are more easily accessible. Furthermore, program reminders into your child’s phone or computer to do the exercises.

Home exercise programs given by a physiotherapist should only take 10-15 minutes per session. The above tips can help you integrate them into your child’s daily routine to increase compliance.

Melanie Gordon, PT, MSc PT.

About Melanie Gordon, PT, MSc PT.

Melanie Gordon is a registered physiotherapist and in good standing with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Melanie graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. Melanie has over eight years of clinical experience in orthopaedic physiotherapy, assessing and treating clients with a variety of conditions and injuries. The past four years she has worked in Sports Medicine and has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of youth and adolescents with sports and recreation injuries as well as post-surgical rehabilitation.

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