How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

How to Keep Kids Active when you are stuck inside

During the training time of week 2 of the Thrive Parenting Support group, Melissa Porcaro, an occupational therapist from Richland, Washington, led us in a discussion about meeting the sensory, proprioceptive and vestibular needs of kids while stuck inside during the coronavirus stay at home orders.

Melissa is the owner of Can Do Kids in Richland, Washington where they believe that Play is a child’s work and therapists use appropriate sensory integration techniques to engage patients in fun and motivating activities which address each child’s treatment goals.

She is an expert in, among other things, sensory issues and laying the foundational work for kids who may not be considered “neurotypical.”

If you could use some ideas for keeping kids emotionally regulated or just from bounding off the walls then you’ll want to watch or listen to the conversation.

Additionally there was a round table discussion about how screen time effects children and some alternatives to using screen time to babysit kids during the coronavirus crisis.


Here is a list of resources discussed this week:

Our Guest: Melissa Porcaro, owner and Occupational Therapist at Can Do Kids

Disconnected: How To Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids

Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time

Ultimate Brain Breaks: Cards with great ideas for keeping kids moving in a way that helps with neurological growth and organization

Thanks to Michelle H. with a lot of great resources from Relationship Development Intervention with Young Children: Social and Emotional Development Activities for Asperger Syndrome, Autism, PDD and NLD 

Parents are invited to continue the conversation at our private online facebook group


Some products/tools mentioned that can be used with your kids

Sensory Sox

Hiker’s Hammock

Therapy Ball

Mini Trampoline


Pod Swing

Swing Tent

Bean Bags

Want to Attend an upcoming group?

You will only need to register one time to attend all meetings.

Bypass the waiting room

Bypass the waiting room

If you are meeting in person with one of our providers, lets keep each other safe. To bypass the waiting area at your next appointment send us a text message when you arrive.

We will check you in from your car when you arrive in our parking lot. We will let you know when you can proceed directly to your provider’s office. 

Just text “imhere” to 509-591-0462 when you get to the parking lot. 

Online Support Group for Parents of kids who need “extra supports” during the coronavirus pandemic

Online Support Group for Parents of kids who need “extra supports” during the coronavirus pandemic

Check out all the information about Thrive Parenting on our New Page

Go to Thrive Parenting

When: Weekly on Wednesdays, 9 PM pacific and 9 PM Eastern

Who: All parents of kids who need extra support

Cost: free – you’ve done enough let us give back to you

Overwhelmed with the thought of being home an extra six weeks (at least) with your kids?

Got cabin fever after the first day of isolation?

 Not sure what you are going to do to keep the kids from burning down the house?

 Grieving the loss of those precious few moments of alone time?

You are not alone and SHOULD NOT be alone if you are going to make it through the Coronavirus pandemic without losing your mind.

Let’s face it. This is serious, and while most of us don’t have to worry about serious health effects of COVID-19, when you are raising kids who need some “extra supports” every change has the potential to overwhelm them. As parents, the coming months could push you into burnout or compassion fatigue (if you are not already there).

We are here to help. We can’t do this alone, so if your support network is currently not up to the task of months of semi-isolation then let’s come together to help each other through this pandemic.

We are starting a brand-new support group – online – that is open to every parent of a kid that needs extra supports (whatever that means to you). This includes, but is not limited to kids with:

All other major mental health issues
Foster/Adopt/Kinship Care
Special Medical Needs
Behavioral Issues
Sensory Issues
Attachment issues
Every support group will have 2 components. First there will be tips and tricks session lead experts in their fields to give you some tools that will hopefully help you to not only survive but thrive in the coming weeks.

Next you can optionally join small groups of other parents in similar geographic regions and types of children. Here you can share, ask, cry, coordinate and support each other, hopefully creating opportunities to support each other throughout the week with. These groups will be coordinated by veteran parents who understand what you are going through.

We look forward to meeting you soon. When the meeting starts feel free to just sit back and listen with your video off, or get as engaged as you want with the video on.

You can just sit back and listen, or join in the conversation. It’s up to you. Turn your mic on indicates “I’m here to engage.” Turn your mic off means “Just want to listen for now.”

There are two time options: 9 P.M. Pacific Time and 9 P.M. Eastern Time. While we think it would be helpful to participate in the group closest to your time zone so that you can connect to other parents in your city, you are free to pick either time slot.

We have a very limited number of spaces available in the group so registration is required.

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Updated: March 23, 2020

COVID-19 Stay At Home Order and your Counseling Appointment

We have an important announcement concerning your upcoming appointments. 

  • Our office remains open, although some staff will be working from home.
  • Your counseling appointments are considered essential
  • Unless there is a good reason, appointments should be online
  • You can pay your copays or bill online, rather than in the office

Governor Inslee issued a “Stay at Home” order this evening. All of us here at Canyon Lakes Family Counseling encourage you to follow this order and stay at home other than for essential activities.

Your counseling appointment is considered an essential activity and you are permitted to travel to our office for your appointment. 


it is our opinion that In most cases it is in your best interest and in the best interest of our staff and providers for you to complete your appointment via telehealth  where it is practically feasible to do so. We also strongly believe that doing your appointment online is important to curb the spread of the coronavirus.


We are asking all of our clients to begin seeing their providers via telehealth. You can connect to the waiting room of your provider at the following link:

Your mental health is important to us and your provider and all of our staff are still on the job. We are committed to helping you reach your therapeutic goals, so if you or your provider determine that the “online” format would hinder those goals then we continue to welcome you to visit our office.

If you and your counselor decide to proceed in the office:

  • Be sure to carry a copy of your appointment reminder as proof that you have a valid reason to be out of your home.
  • We encourage you to wait in your car and text our office at 509-591-0462 to let us know you have arrived and we will let you know when it is safe to proceed directly to your provider’s office.

If we do not hear from you before your next appointment we will be contacting you to verify if you will be attending online or in person.

March 15, 2020

We all want to do our part to mitigate the consequences of the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community.

If part of your strategy is to minimize trips away from home we wanted to let you know that we are now offering the option of participating in your counseling sessions through video conferencing for many of our clients At Canyon Lakes we have been providing online counseling (sometimes called Telemedicine, Telehealth, or Tele-mental Health) to children, teens, adults and couples with great success for nearly 2 years. All of our providers have been trained to provide counseling online and while it is not always an appropriate substitute for in-person visits, it is often an equally effective substitute.

If you’d like to meet online in lieu of coming to the office, let your therapist know or call our office and we will Do our best to accommodate you. Our office will continue to be open for in person visits. Here is what we are doing to mitigate the consequences:

  • Regular cleaning of common areas
  • removal of toys in the waiting room.
  • Removing “No-Show” fees for canceling appointments within 24 hours due to illness, caring for ill, or if you suspect that you have been in close contact with the virus. To receive a waiver of the no show fee, just call us ahead of time and let us know your plans.

You can help us by:

  1. Using online appointments if you are feeling unwell or you have a sick family member.
  2. Using online appointments if you are at risk of spreading COVID-19

How to help kids reduce anxiety – Two Tips

Potty Break Episode 7

Wondering how to help kids reduce anxiety during the holidays? In this episode we continue part 2/3 of dealing with children’s anxiety during the holidays. Today’s tips: How to help kids breath to relax and how to teach them to play in a way that fights anxiety.

Additional thoughts not in the video:

As a therapist I tried for years to figure out a way to get kids to do breathing exercises. We know that good mindfulness practices can be so helpful to treating anxiety and stress that I wanted them to try it. Getting an explosive child explosive to breath is challenging when angry. For kids that are anxious we had a hard time getting them into the routine because frankly, it’s boring. Additionally, often these kids have very poor control and awareness of their bodies and have a hard time regulating their breathing.

Enter: Sesame Street App. It was just different enough that when a kid started melting down I’d say, “looks like your upset, lets play a video game.” They would stop their meltdown and sit down long enough to get to the breathing part of the game.

The heart math system teaches kids to regulate their body in a fun way. As long as we provide external motivation for hitting certain milestones (prizes), they will engage daily if it is part of their routine. If you are going to pickup the heart math for your kids know this: The iOs app and hardware is half the price and is portable enough to use in the car or in a waiting room somewhere. However, it lacks the games that are on the mac/pc version.

Show Notes:

Potty Break is a series of daily training and encouragement videos for foster and adoptive parents…designed to be watched during those precious few minutes that you can find some alone time….your potty break.

Links and products from today’s show:


Tools and Resources: How to help kids reduce anxiety mentioned in this episode

Sesame Street Breathe:

Heart Math:

EmwavePro (for mac & pc)

Inner Balance (for ios devices)

Vagus Nerve


If you find this series helpful, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, or head over to facebook to join in the discussion.

Do you have other tips that have helped kids reduce anxiety? If so put them in the comments below.