As a mother of 4, I can honestly say that there is nothing more stressful than trying to add something new into an already busy schedule. Understanding why your child needs myofunctional therapy and integrating it into your life can be complicated. So here’s 5 of the best tips this mom of 4 has to make your busy life a little easier.
#1 Buy a little mirror
Myofunctional therapy is a lot like working with a personal trainer for the face. You may get a personal trainer at the gym to work out with 1 or 2 days a week, but you need to also work out alone and implement those exercises planned. The same is true for myofunctional therapy. You have to put work in at home daily.
Many of the exercises you learn require you look at yourself to make precise movements. This makes exercising on the go almost impossible, right? Wrong! At many dollar stores you can buy travel size mirrors with stands. Making practicing on the go achievable.
Have the kids do exercises on the way to school, soccer, grandma’s house, or anywhere with a mirror. Hello convenience, goodbye stress.
#2 Reward, don’t remind
Those daily exercises you have to incorporate into your routine, could definitely become yet another thing that you need to tell your child to do. Let’s face it, if they child does not have a vested interest, they are not likely to do the exercises on their own. So why expand the list of things to tell them to do daily, when they can do this of their own free will.
In this age of technology, many kids already have a cell phone or a tablet. Use a reward app to put your myofunctional exercises on autopilot. Many offer digital rewards or games for accomplishing parent set tasks. You can find a great list of apps available for iOS or Android here.
Leave the reminders to daily usuals like cleaning their room, brushing their teeth and taking a bath. Or, add it to the app to make your life easier.
#3 Delay until everyone adjusts
When it comes to treating airway centered disorders, there are many options for early orthodontic treatment. Some are gentle and easy to wear, others are bulky and difficult. Often times there is an adjustment for both parent and child. Children do not always take well to their appliances and may change their eating habits, speech, or mood.
This combined with now scheduling in adjustment visits at the dental office every few weeks can easily create frustration. Imagine throwing myofunctional therapy on your list of places to be and things to do. Among the many questions I get about treatment, the most often asked question is what order does orthodontic and myofunctional treatment go.
There is no order. I repeat, there is no order. You may have a myofunctional therapist tell you that you need to wait for some expansion to occur prior to starting, but outside of that, you can start therapy at any point.
Ease the stress of doing both at once and adjusting around both, by doing myofunctional therapy after you get used to your appliance.
#4 Have a backup
You will be given a myofunctional therapy bag with all the supplies you will need during treatment. Some therapists may distribute supplies as you go along. Either way, bags and/or supplies are often lost and need to be replaced. Be prepared by ordering a backup bag from your therapist or online.
The backup bag will also come in handy if your child will be doing exercises at different houses, or on the go.
#5 Know what to expect
I personally like to be organized and plan ahead. I have all the exercises on flash cards that can be cut out from 8×11 card-stock paper. Those can then be placed on a 1-inch binder ring for convenience and organization. Some therapists teach the exercises and give a list for just that day.
Ask to get all the exercises in advance, whether that be a week ahead or for the whole program. Knowing what to expect in the coming week will allow you to be prepared for the myofunctional exercises you will practice. It also allows you to read through the directions, or YouTube tutorials of the exercises.
Bonus tip #6
Save yourself time and money by doing the therapy on your own. It’s not impossible and despite the push-back you may get from your provider on DIY therapy, in this day and age of technology anything can be done. Get a myofunctional therapy journal that has a full program with pages for documenting progress and associated YouTube videos to accompany written exercise instructions. There is even an online course for tongue tie release pre- and post-preparatory exercises. Both options come with professional support available.
Whatever it is that you decided to do for your child’s myofunctional therapy, make sure it adds to your life positively. You have enough things in life creating pressure and stress, so implement one or all of these tips to make your myofunctional therapy experience more convenient and less stressful.