Rotational Menus for Picky Eaters

Picky Eaters and Parent Personal Chefs

Sometimes, kids can get stuck in what are called “food-jags.” A food-jag may look like a kid only wanting yogurt and waffles for breakfast, every morning. Or, refusing to eat anything but chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for dinner.

Food-jags set parents up to be personal chefs for their children and they set up children to have potential issues with nutritional intake and growth.

Kid Foods

Parents: no shame here! This is common with kids these days. “Kid foods” are pushed on parents with some pretty amazing marketing and a lot of adults fall into this way of feeding their kids. If you haven’t heard of this term, “Kid Foods” are what I define as any food that has been altered to cater to children or altered to be marketable to children and their parents. Think Eggo Waffles, Puree Packets, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Kids Cereals, GoGurts — the “kid food” industry is massive!

Unfortunately, Kid Foods create narrow food varieties and most importantly to me as a feeding therapist — the nutritional content of these kid foods are minimal. My last complaint on these foods and the most inconvenient for the parents I work with — kid foods make parents personal chefs for their kids.

I have worked with parents who make a different meal for each human in their family, every meal. Holy cow.

FIRST, know you are not alone, and SECOND – please, know it does not have to be this way!

You know what’s easier?

  1. Kids eating whatever you put on their plate.
  2. Kids eating what you’ve already prepared for the rest of the family.

How do we get to this point?

Here is how I use Rotational Menus in my feeding therapy practice to combat food-jags and increase the items on kids’ accepted food lists.

Remember the end goal: they eat what you serve.

How-to use Rotational Menus for Picky Eaters

Be excited, make it fun, and disclose your intentions and plans fully.


  • The name of the game with any picky eating recovery is to keep it fun, light, and stress-free.
  • The first rule of Rotational Menus: we can’t eat the same thing two-days in a row.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: COMMUNICATION! Children understand more than we give them credit for. To be respectful of our children, we need to tell them what is going to happen. This may look like:

“Hey ____, remember how mommy is always asking you to try new foods? I know you LOVE toast, I love it too! It’s so yummy. I want you to be able to go to friends’ houses and eat fun things with them, and I want you to go to fun places like (insert favorite place here) and eat their fun food. So we’re going to try something new. There will be a menu on the refrigerator for breakfast, you get to choose what you want to eat but you cannot eat the same thing two days in a row. I’m so excited for you to try this game! We’re going to start tomorrow. I can’t wait.”

Alright, Let’s be like Mike

Let’s pretend we’re using Rotational Menus with a kid named Mike. Mike is a “picky eater.” Mike eats plain toast for breakfast, every day. That’s what he asks for and it’s the only thing he is willing to eat. So, that’s what mama makes.

Per Rotational Menu rules: Mike CAN in fact eat plain toast, but he cannot eat it two days in a row.

Week 1

Sometimes with kids like Mike, I start slow and introduce the concept of Rotational Menu’s where he’s already at.


Week 2

Mike also likes cereal and butter on plain bread — so, per Rotational Menu rules he can choose toast with butter, cereal, or plain toast. BUT, if Monday morning’s choice was plain toast, Tuesday’s breakfast has got to have another choice. The fun part for Mike, he gets to choose his breakfast from these options.


Week 3

NOW we’re expanding. Mike likes peanut butter and crackers. So we’re taking that preferred food (peanut butter) and adding it to another preferred food (toast) in order to expand variety.


Week 4

Look at the AWESOME variety Mike has!! Let’s layer the variety! Mike loves bananas, so let’s put some of those on his peanut butter toast.


At this point, Mike has a Rotational Menu AND routine of variety with his preferred foods. Now that he is used to variety, introducing new foods into this line-up can begin. This is where we start bringing in more nutritious options like berries, eggs, avocado, etc. etc. etc.!

Communication and the way Rotational Menu’s are presented to children are the MOST IMPORTANT part of all of this. We need to be sure kids know what is happening during mealtimes so they are prepared and grounded, not surprised and stressed at change that is out of their control.

What questions do you have? Comment below or reach out for a Free Consultation if you feel this may work with your little one.

The concept of Rotational Menu’s stems from Dina Rose’s work, including her book, It’s Not About The Broccoli.


Featured Photo: by Hal Gatewood

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Parents: How-to Manage Unsolicited Advice

Motherhood wouldn’t be motherhood without some good old unsolicited advice, am I right?

My personal theory on unsolicited advice:

Keep an open mind – understand that I don’t have all the answers, and don’t take it personally. These are my approaches that fellow mothers have shared with me and what I find supports me staying grounded in my parenting. I would LOVE to hear yours! Comment below or reach out directly to connect.

Judge by Intention

“We judge others by their actions; we judge ourselves by our intentions.”

I’m sure we can all see the truth in this old adage. “I can’t believe she did that” vs. “I didn’t mean to come off that way.” I try to think about the intent of the person giving me unsolicited advice. I would venture to say that the vast majority of the time, people give me advice because they care deeply for me and/or my child.

People likely feel their suggestion will either help me, be good for my baby, or both. How can I argue with that? Plus, I know I don’t have all the answers, and I think it’s good to have a toolbox of ideas to pull from when all else fails (because all else will fail).

Takeaway: People are just trying to help.

Grin & Bear It

The way I respond to the person or react to their advice doesn’t have to correlate to what I actually do with it.

Do I really need to flex my baby territory muscles when I know that ultimately I get to make the decision? Exchange putting someone in their place for a polite smile and a “thank you.” Besides – reacting negatively may deter the person from giving you advice in the future that you may have welcomed.

Takeaway: I don’t have to prove who’s in charge.

You might be too close

Have you ever found yourself too close to a situation to be able to think outside the box? I have, and it almost blinded me to a perfect solution.

We were at the beach this year for our family vacation and P got the most awful diaper rash you could ever imagine. We dreaded diaper changes because his little butt was so red and raw that he screamed and writhed in pain. We actually had to do changes with two people – someone to change and someone to hold him down. It was torture for everyone involved. As a result, P was sleeping horribly too. He usually sleeps 12 hours solid with no problem, but this week he was waking up screaming at 3-4 AM and from there, up for the day. It was getting really old, and really exhausting.

Someone in my family repeatedly recommended waking him up halfway through his sleep to change his diaper and treat the rash (before it was so full and therefore more painful and irritating), speculating that he may be more likely to then go back to sleep, having had not nearly enough sleep.

Was she crazy? Wake a sleeping baby and start our day at 1 AM instead? Does she know how strong-willed my child is? Once he’s up and angry, he’s up. And angry.

Finally I took the advice just to shut her up and prove her wrong! And what do you know – to my amazement (and a bit of embarrassment) we woke him prematurely at 1AM, completed the grueling diaper change, and he went right back down until 7. Lesson learned!

Takeaway: They might be able to see a solution that you can’t.

Advice from your squad

Putting them in your friend circle kinda gives them full reign on advice-giving, in my opinion. I invite people to give me advice and I know there is no judgment attached. It’s not fair to ask for advice when I want it and mock it when I don’t.

Takeaway: I expect the people I trust the most to help me see a different approach.

Advice from strangers

I don’t have the time or energy to prove that I’m a good mother to the lady behind me in line at Safeway who noticed my baby doesn’t have socks on in the middle of winter.

Takeaway: Who cares?


Of course (and admittedly), all of this is easier said than done – it takes conscious practice and can always be considered a work-in-progress. I have committed to adopting this fully as my practice when I come across advice I haven’t asked for, because it’s not if, but when. AND, if practice makes perfect, then bring on the unsolicited advice!

Co-occupations: the Importance of the Mama + Baby Bond

Written by Contributing Writer, Victoria Briltz, OTDS

As an occupational therapy student, one of my favorite topics is co-occupations! Occupations are anything that you do in your life that occupies your time. Anything from happy hours with friends, brushing your teeth, or working – if it’s occupying your time, it’s an occupation. What’s really amazing, is that we can participate in occupations together, which then become co-occupations.

Textbook definition – co-occupations occur when people perform an occupation in a mutually responsive, physical and emotional interconnected manner.

During a co-occupation, both participants (mama and little one) are actively engaged. Maternal-infant co-occupations happen all the time when a mother is in a caregiving/maternal role.

Co-occupation in action:

  • A mother is engaging in the reciprocal occupation of breastfeeding (mother feeds, baby eats)
  • A mama is helping her baby to go to sleep (mother comforts, mother-baby complete nighttime routine, baby sleeps)
  • Even perinatal doctor appointments are a co-occupation (mother attends appointments, baby is healthy)

Per definition, co-occupations are mutually responsive in a physical and emotional manner.


When a mama is connecting emotionally with her baby, it is a reciprocal response to her child’s emotional tone (i.e., mother and baby smiling at each other). Why is this so important? Co-occupational engagement greatly influences a child’s brain and overall development.

Let’s talk maternal-fetal attachment and how it affects mamas

Maternal-fetal attachment is an emotional bond between a mother and her unborn child. Maternal-fetal attachment begins and evolves during pregnancy. It has been positively associated with the over all well-being of the mother and the fetus. The quality of the maternal-infant relationship is directly related to both the physical and emotional health of mama and baby.

As a future health care professional who plans to work with mother’s and their babies – knowledge about attachment, how to promote healthy attachment, and how to prevent a lack of attachment, is very important to me!

I have an opportunity to promote an optimal relationships between moms and babies and I take that responsibility seriously. When a insecure attachment forms between and a mother and her child, children can be significantly impacted in the way they are able to participate in every day occupations such as feeding and sleeping.

A lack of a secure attachment can also lead to children having trouble regulating their environment – this may look like a child getting overwhelmed more easily than other children, or having trouble processing every day emotions like disappointment or anger.

What does research say we can do to promote secure relationships between mama and baby?

Handling and holding babies

There are ways to hold a baby that creates more of an attachment. Any position where baby can see mama and feel securely held, can held lead to a feeling of safety and security. Communicating or singing to your baby while holding them is even better!



Everyday activities (occupations)

Bathing, dressing, diaper changes, feeding – you do to help your baby maintain their health and hygiene is a co-occupation and an opportunity to promote a secure bond.

Playing in the bath, singing a song while you change their diaper, and allowing babies the space to lead their feeding activities, can all be ways to increase your bond with your child.



Leah Foreman, OTDS, COTA/L wanted me to make sure I included a piece on communication, here is what she feels on the importance of communicating with your little one:

“Your infant knows what you are saying, and they understand more than you may know! Communicating with your baby is vital for a healthy bond and attachment. They understand your tone and they understand when you are paying attention to them and when you are not. They know how to read your facial expressions as early as 2 months. So communication matters! Tell your baby what you are doing when you are changing them. When they are crying for food, tell them you are working on it and you hear that they are hungry. When they are sad, tell them it’s okay to be sad and that you are right there with them. All of these are ways to help increase the health and security of your bond with your baby.”

Great point! Have you seen this video? It’s an amazing example!

There are so many ways to promote a healthy and secure attachment with your little one, I hope this blog provides some ideas on how to get started developing a bond with your child that will last a lifetime. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions!



Beetz, A., Winkler, N., Julius, H., UvnäS-Moberg, K., & Kotrschal, K. (2015). A Comparison of equine-assisted intervention and conventional play-based early intervention for mother–child dyads with insecure attachment. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention, 8(1), 17–39.

Evans, T., Whittingham, K., Sanders, M., Colditz, P., & Boyd, R. N. (2014). Infant behavior and development: Are parenting interventions effective in improving the relationship between mothers and their preterm infants ? Infant Behavior and Development, 37(2), 131–154.

Johnson, S., & Marlow, N. (2014). Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine Growing up after extremely preterm birth : Lifespan mental health outcomes. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 19(2), 97–104.

Karin, J., Britt-Marie, T., & Jens, S. (2003). From alienation to familiarity: experiences of mothers and fathers of preterm infants. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43(2), 120-129. Retrieved from

Lazarus, K., & Rossouw, P. (2015). Mother ’s expectations of parenthood. The impact of prenatal expectations on self- esteem, depression, anxiety and stress post mothers’ expectations of parenthood: the impact of prenatal expectations on self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. International Journal of Neu, 3(August), 102–123.

Maas, A. J. B. M., Vreeswijk, C. M. J. M., Braeken, J., Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., & van Bakel, H. J. A. (2014). Determinants of maternal fetal attachment in women from a community-based sample. Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology, 32(1), 5–24.

Muller–Nix, C., Forcada–Guex, M., Pierrehumbert, B., Jaunin, L., Borghini, A., & Ansermet, F. (2004). Prematurity, maternal stress and mother-child interactions. Early Human Development, 79, 145–158

Pierrehumbert, B., Nicole, A., Muller–Nix, C., Forcada–Guex, M., & Ansermet, F. (2003). Parental post-traumatic reactions after premature birth: Implications for sleeping and eating problems in the infant. Archives ofDisease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 88(5), 400–404.

Pizur-Barnekow, K., & Erickson, S. (2011). Perinatal posttraumatic stress disorder: Implications for occupational therapy in early intervention practice. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 27(2), 126–139.

Spittle, A., & Treyvaud, K. (2016). The role of early developmental intervention to influence neurobehavioral outcomes of children born preterm. Seminars in Perinatology, 40(8), 542–548.

Treyvaud, K., Inder, T. E., Lee, K. J., Northam, E. A., Doyle, L. W., & Anderson, P. J. (2012). Can the home environment promote resilience for children born very preterm in the context of social and medical risk ? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112(3), 326–337.

What is Early Intervention?

Why Early Intervention?

As a pediatric COTA practicing in EI OT, Early intervention is my PASSION! Currently, there is no area of practice I love more. If you’re wondering what exactly early intervention is, you’re in the right place.

When you think of early intervention, think babies, specifically children 0-3 years old. There are also speech therapy, physical therapy, and other services available through EI.

Why Are These Services Free?

EI services are provided by in the United States with federal funding. This funding is provided through Part C of the IDEA (Individuals for Disabilities Act), although a child does not need to have a disability to benefit from EI services and qualify to use this funding.

EI is provided through government funding for children who are 0-3 years old who are experiencing delays or interruption in function and development. This can be due to a medical diagnosis, or a general delay due to many different happenings including but not limited to low birth weight, preterm birth, birth trauma, etc. Sometimes, a child will have none of these concerns and for some reason, they are not keeping up with their developmental milestones and just needs some extra support.

Sometimes a pediatrician will notice these delays and refer to services, and sometimes parents notice themselves and are able to self-refer into EI (more on this below).

Capitalizing on the Brain’s Plasticity

What I love about early intervention is that it capitalizes on the immense amout of growth and development that occurs during the ages of 0-3 (Knickmeyer, 2008)(Nelson, 2000). The brain grows immensely during these years and we have an opportunity to provide therapy during a time where neuroplasticity is more readily available than other phases of life. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to forge new connections and prune old ones that are not serving us. Watch this video for an amazing explanation of how neuroplasticity works!

Long story short: if a therapist can come into a family’s life and help support a child during this time, they can more easily help the child and change the course of their lives! So, so awesome!

Also – it is important to note that 0-3 is not the only time we can use neuroplasticity in this way. Adults have neurologically plastic brains and so do kids who are 3+, alas, there is never a time in our lives where our brains are more plastic than when we are infants, and that is the beauty of EI services.

How to Begin with EI services

Watch this video and read more about how the EI intake process. This video explains the process here in Denver where I practice, it may vary a bit in your area.

Pediatrician Referral

A pediatrician can refer a family in early intervention services as they typically would refer you to any other specialist. If your pediatrician notices you may need the services, they will help you get started. You are also able to ask your pediatrician about starting EI services if you feel your child is in need.


What is also amazing about early intervention services – you can refer yourself! A simple call to local early childhood resources in your area can direct you on how to set-up an evaluation to see if your child qualifies for EI services. All the state and local numbers for self-referral can be found here.


What questions do you have? Reach out to me or comment below!


If you’re unsure whether or not your child would qualify for these services – schedule a free virtual consultation with me. If your family is local to Metro Denver, my team and I would be happy to complete an in-person consult with you and your child – please reach out directly for those services either by email at, or give me a call, 303-900-8710.

EI funding is an amazing resource that families can take advantage of to help their children have a great start to an amazing childhood and adult life.






Knickmeyer, R. C., Gouttard, S., Kang, C., Evans, D., Wilber, K., Smith, J. K., … Gilmore, J. H. (2008). A Structural MRI Study of Human Brain Development from Birth to 2 Years. The Journal of Neuroscience, 28(47), 12176 LP – 12182.

Nelson, C. A. (2000), Neural plasticity and human development: the role of early experience in sculpting memory systems. Developmental Science, 3: 115-136. doi:10.1111/1467-7687.00104

Objectivism and Behaviorism – for parents and professionals

The way we interact with children is immensely important for development and a child’s ability to become competent and cooperative children and adults.

My practice and the way I interact with children has shifted immensely over the past year. As a pediatric OTA, I used to work 100% of the time in the realm of behaviorism. Now, it pains me a bit to think about some of those past sessions and the opportunities I missed with my little clients. Objectivism has changed me as a person for the better which in turn, has made me a more effective therapist.

Objectivism is based on a shared understanding that infants and children are conscious human beings from day one. This conflicts with subconscious beliefs that have been passed down through generations. Beliefs that children are not rational and should be treated as less than adults, talked down to, and controlled to teach behavior.

Fortunately, we have access to updated research on child development. If this concept is new to you or piques your interest, definitely read A Theory of Objectivist Parenting and watch this video from The Mellow Mama. I love her statement, “babies are not potatoes.” It’s true! Babies and children are conscious beings and should be treated with respect just as we would treat a friend, coworker, or spouse.

I’m not a parent – but I have been fortunate enough to work with dozens of families, each with their own parenting style and household culture. I also intentionally seek out research, mentorship, and knowledge from experts in parenting. The way I interact with kids in session parallels a style of parenting called Objective Parenting. It can also look a lot like RIE or Respectful Parenting or some aspects of the Montessori Method.

Whether you are a pediatric professional or parent, I hope that you are able to take the pieces that speak to you. Take what works and leave the rest behind!

So what is Objective Parenting?

My friend and mentor, Katie from Thriving Littles, helped me put this into eloquent words with her definition. “Objective parenting is non-judgemental parenting without expectation or perspective of what should be without meeting individuals where they are.” Objective parenting or interaction with children looks like leaving out our perspectives of what a child “should” be doing in the moment. Instead – observing what they need in the moment, then meeting them there without judgement.

A mama by the name of Caroline who writes on The Medium – PERFECTLY summarized Tracy Hogg’s work. The Objective Parenting Challenge – has a description of Subjective vs. Objective Parenting –

“Objective parents are motivated by their child’s individual needs, while subjective parents are motivated by their own emotions. Consequently, subjective parents react to emotions from within themselves rather than detaching and responding to what is going on within the child.”

Whoa! Yes! This had been my exact experience while shifting from Behaviorism to Objectivism in my pediatric practice. In my sessions, I had my own thoughts on needed to happen with a child during activities I chose. All the while, the child was sending me messages of what they needed from me as the adult in that moment. All I needed to do was to get out of my own ego and pay attention!

Theoretically, Behaviorism and Objectivism differ greatly — so what are they at their core? Glad you asked… Let’s break that down a little bit.


The book that changed it all for me, A Theory of Objectivist Parenting states if perfectly. “Behaviorist parenting is: influencing a child’s behavior using any method of intentional reward (from an approving glance to praise to bribery) or any method of intentional punishment (from a disapproving glance to threats to spanking).”

More simply put

Something a child does is a behavior. Our society qualifies behaviors. You may typically see a little one sharing a toy or saying ‘please’ as a “good” behavior and hitting someone or crying in a store as a “bad” behavior. Behaviorism often uses rewards or punishment to encourage a behavior to either continue or stop. How often do we hear the reward “Good girl, that was good,” or the punishment of shaming “Bad boys do that, you were a bad boy.”

As a pediatric therapist, I can tell you behaviorism is the norm. It is how we currently raise children. It is how I was raised and how at least 95% of parents currently interact with their kids.

If you want to learn more on why this may not be ideal for children, watch the videos below from Thriving Littles and The Mellow Mama YouTube Channels. They’re gold!


SO – what is this beautiful theory that’s gaining ground among parents and therapists everywhere?

Objectivsm. I like to define Objectivsm in child interaction is a sequence: Observing a behavior, taking in the information, checking judgement, then regulating ourselves with mindful intention, then responding to what a child needs in that moment.

I first learned of Objectivism through Kaitlyn Sapp of The Mellow Mama – she recommended Rosyn Ross’ book, A Theory of Objective Parenting.

Objectivism looks like:

From a Parenting Perspective:

Every parent’s super power – knowing their child, what works for them, what they need in each moment to enjoy the world around them


  • Acceptance of a current situation
  • Acceptance that your worth is not determined by a child’s needs or behavior (therapists:their ability to complete a task that YOU chose.)
  • Mindfulness and acknowledgement of what your opinions are on what a child “should” be (i.e. “a child should be polite” “a child should be quiet” “a child should behave in their car seat” “a child should sleep through the night at ___ months old”
  • Awareness of neurological development and what children are truly capable of emotionally at certain ages (this one is KEY for me)

I’m all in! What do you think?

Now that I’m all in for Objectivism in my practice – my heart hurts sometimes when I think on some of the behaviors we expect of children, before they are neurologically or otherwise ready.

My heart really is pained when I think back on sessions early on in my career and what I was asking children to do when they weren’t ready. So many missed opportunities to connect with them and help them feel seen in a moment. Those moments could have been nurturing and promoting growth rather than a moment of requirement of accepted performance or behavior.

What’s really beautiful (to me) is there are so many ways to parent – and the most beautiful part? You get to choose what is right for your family and your child. Not everything is for everyone and I understand that fully. I truly believe that even if Objectivist parenting is implemented imperfectly can make a massive difference in the quality of life of children everywhere.

I found Objectivism earlier this year and to be honest, its been near impossible for me to go back to any sort of Behaviorism strategies, it’s changed not only how I interact with children, but also friends, family, and the world around me. I truly believe it can change the world!

Contact me and let me know what you think! I love to connect with both parents and professionals to discuss emerging topics. I can point you in the right direction for more resources and I have resources for parent coaching I can provide you as well.

If you want to learn more:

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Mobiles for Development

Why mobiles? Aren’t babies supposed to be sleeping when they’re in their cribs? Well — they’re not just for trendy nursery fashion, mobiles are actually great for early infant development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep Recommendations include a best practice of allowing your baby to sleep in their own bassinet or crib in the same room with you for the first 6-12 in order to reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.

Whatever month you choose to transition your baby to their own sleeping space, placing a mobile above their crib or bassinet from the age of 2+ months can be a wonderful way to encourage the development of visual, motor, and cognitive skills.

When babies look at mobiles they develop what are called visual tracking skills (developed between 2-7 months of age) — visual tracking allows babies to follow moving objects with their eyes. Visual tracking is a very important skill as babies grow; it allows them to play, interact — and eventually, visual tracking is very important for school-aged skills.

Around 5-6 months, babies will begin coordinated reaching for objects — whether they are in tummy time or laying on their back in their crib, linking visual tracking skills with reaching helps to develop hand-eye coordination, another extremely important skill for littles to develop!

Now, if you’ve got a little one who is already sitting up in their crib or pulling to stand — you’ll want to make sure the mobile is hung from the ceiling high enough that is is out of reach. Clipping mobiles to the crib can be great in the first few months of life, but can be hazardous once the baby can reach to grab and pull on it.

I’ve also seen mamas who hang mobiles over the changing table, a great way to distract or play while completing diaper changes.

One more thing to keep in mind! Some babies may be soothed by mobiles while some may be excited by them! Some mobiles on the market these days light up, sing, spin — pay attention to how your baby interacts with the mobile. If it soothes them, the crib is a great location, if it stimulates them, maybe the changing table is a better choice! Each baby is different and you’re the expert on your little one.

These mobiles are custom-made mobiles from Atlas Rose, and they are handmade by yours truly! Check out the shop for other variations and to request your own custom mobile for your little one.

Occupational Particpation with EazyHold Universal Cuffs

As an Occupational Therapy Assistant, my job is to make it possible for my patients to participate in their daily occupations. An occupation is anything that occupies your time. This can be anything from brushing your teeth, feeding your dog, or participating in a hobby like painting. In order to participate in occupations, we often need to use our hands to grip objects. Sometimes, my patients need a little help when it comes to grip because their ability to hold objects has been affected in one way or another.

Over the years, I have begrudgingly used traditional universal cuffs for years with clients. A universal cuff is an adaptive device that helps patients grip everyday objects when their grip has been affected. They allow patients to participate in everyday activities, which as an OT, is what I am all about.

I’ve been hesitant to recommend the traditional cuffs because they weren’t the best solution, yet there wasn’t really another option — they are made from rigid vinyl or leather with tough Velcro that can cause blisters and sores on some of my patient’s skin as they were adjusting to using the cuff. I used them with all ages and populations, including children whose skin really couldn’t handle the sharp, thick material, let alone the sharp Velcro.

I remember I had a patient once who needed to use a universal cuff to eat, brush his teeth, and use his cellphone — following a spinal cord injury, he needed the cuff because his arms and hands were affected. His universal cuffs would wear down or get too dirty to use any more, at least once a year. We would order him a new cuff and I remember when it came in the mail, we would have to bend it and work the leather like you would a baseball glove when it’s brand new. The material is hard and needs to be worn in so they are comfortable. The cuff was hard to clean after meals, and having one cuff for meals and for oral care and for everyday cell phone use, was just too much. He preferred to use one cuff for all activities but realized how unsanitary it was. Imagine wearing a glove to shop at Target then having to go home and use that same glove to eat, all without being able to wash it — no thank you!

I only wish that during my time with this patient that EazyHold’s universal cuffs were on the market. They just get it!

“We did have some knowledge of the assistive devices on the market and particularly how they’d not changed in 40 years. They were made of hard plastic, leather, elastic, and scratchy Velcro; all were neither sanitary nor adaptable. We knew that ours should be soft, comfortable, hygienic, and most importantly, super adaptable. We decided to use silicone which had just those qualities”

– EazyHold’s Founders

As an OT; here are all the reasons why I love EazyHold grips for my patients:


Not only do these grips make daily life more accessible for my patients who experience issues with grip strength, but they are easily ordered through so many amazing online vendors. I have ordered them from EazyHold’s website and from Amazon — each way is great. EazyHold offers free shipping on orders over $100 and with a Prime Membership, they ship free in 2-days. They are also an affordable price point which is important to me — when I recommend a product or an adaptive piece of equipment, it is refreshing to know I am recommending something that most of my families can afford — and if I need to donate one to a client, it’s very inexpensive for me to do.


EazyHolds are silicone and easy to clean after meals or fun messy play activities for little ones.


EazyHolds are easy to switch between objects and come in so many sizes, they really can fit anything! I have provided them to patients to use for everything from cooking to playing with toys.


EazyHolds are soft silicone, so I worry much, much less about my patient’s skin developing sores or blisters like I do with traditional cuffs. Traditional cuffs are abrasive on little one’s skin, these grips were a game changer for my pediatric clients.


They come in fun colors! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a situation where we had to figure out whose flesh tone cuff was whose before mealtime. These are bright and easily identifiable!

Sunscreen Safety

Who is looking forward to long summer days by the pool or at the beach or lake? mmm, ME!

A self-professed sun worshiper, I know just about everything there is so know about enjoying the sun safely — and to be honest, I know all about living dangerously with the sun; sans sunscreen, baby oil tanning sessions as a teenager, and beach days with that good old Tropicana 8 SPF! I was a brave little babe back in the day.

Even with the sun’s dangerous rays, you can be sure we won’t be avoiding it this summer! I got smart about sun protection as I got older — especially for my face and chest.

Did you know that an estimated 90% of the signs of aging are caused by the sun? and that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined?

I’ve got some exciting news and tons of information to share with you today on safer sunscreen and sun exposure.

Now that I’m more knowledgeable on healthy and harmful sun exposure, I wanted to pass along some of this info to you all. And there are TWO new product launches this week! (scroll if you can’t wait!)

So Many Rays

Broad-spectrum chemical and mineral sunscreens both provide broad-spectrum protection which means they protect against UVA and UVB rays. Beautycounter goes the extra step by also protecting from Blue Light – another type of ray that damages cellular DNA and leads to aging and cancer.

  • UVA = Aging Rays These are present all year round. Penetrates glass and clouds and deeper into the skin to cause free-radical damage that contribute to premature aging.
  • UVB = Burning Rays These are the primary causes of sunburn, easier to recognize as we can see and feel the damage as it occurs.

Higher than SPF 30 is unnecessary + a marketing ploy

  • SPF 15 – Blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 – Blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 – Blocks 98% of UVB rays

There is no such thing as Waterproof Sunscreen

There is a difference between water-resistant and waterproof (no sunscreen is technically waterproof so beware of that labeling). All sunscreens that resist removal while in water are specifically labeled water-resistant (40 or 80 minutes).

Chemicals vs. Minerals and how they protect us

Chemical sunscreens filter the sun (and are skin irritants, linked to hormone disruption as well as the destruction of our coral reef ecosystem). You’ll see them on labels in the form of: oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate most commonly.

Mineral sunscreens reflect the sun. The safest forms are non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide. When searching for mineral sunscreen, ensure it says NON-NANO. The particle size matters here as larger particles are easily inhaled and can damage the lungs.

There is absolutely no additional benefit to using chemical sunscreens… they are linked to health and environmental harm as well as skin allergies.

Skip ’em this summer for a simple solution with the Countersun Mineral Sunscreen line.

Sunscreen Green-washing is Everywhere, Especially the Baby Products

Beware of green-washing in the sunscreen industry! The following products contain chemical sunscreen filters as well as a slew of other harmful chemicals. Don’t be fooled by their packaging claims, marketing or product design.

  • SuperGoop! sunscreen gets the “Clean Seal” at Sephora yet it contains 4 different chemical sunscreen filters.
  • Babyganics Baby Sunscreen contains chemical sunscreen in addition to mineral sunscreen (but not the non-nano recommended form).
  • Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen contains zinc oxide (but not the non-nano form) and toluene-based BHT among other questionable ingredients.
  • Neutrogena Dry Touch SPF100 sunscreen isn’t necessarily green-washing but it’s the one my mom used for years… and it contains FIVE chemical sunscreen filters! Plus… SPF100 provides negligible additional protection. It’s simply a marketing tactic to get unaware consumers to buy into higher SPF being “better for them”.
  • Goddess Garden Spray Sunscreen does not contain the non-nano version of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s particularly vital for these ingredients to be in the non-nano form in a mist application as they can be easily inhaled when sprayed near the body and face.


Beautycounter’s Countersun line is formulated without gluten and now contains FIVE products meeting all your sun safety and after sun needs.

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF30

(Allure Best of Beauty Winner) 3-ounce and 6.7-ounce available

I love this body sunscreen – it provides excellent protection (I’ve never gotten a burn while using it – same for my extended family) and rubs in clear on light to medium-deep skin tones.
Bonus: It rubs in much easier and is less greasy/oily than Badger brand as well which we used to use before we switched to Beautycounter.

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF30

(TSA-friendly 3oz and 6oz available)

Sunscreen mist provides a quick application and easier to rub-in consistency. I prefer to still spray this product in my hands and rub it quickly into my arms, legs and chest. Much less waste than spraying onto the body and inevitably missing! Great choice for kids who can’t sit still when you need a quick application. Reapply every 80 minutes when sweating or in the water or after towel drying.

P.S. This is an aerosol-free mist… no chemical air propellants needed in this innovative, environmentally-friendly packaging design! Yes, I’ve traveled on an airplane with it too.

Countersun Mineral Face Stick Sunscreen SPF30

My husband and I love this face stick because we use it as a body stick, really. Quick reapplication or a quick couple swipes before a hike or bike ride and we are good to go. I keep a couple in all our hiking gear and my purse.

NEW! Countersun Mineral Tinted Sunscreen Mist SPF30

Who knew tinted body sunscreen is a thing? I didn’t until Beautycounter launched this new product and holy cow it SMELLS GOOD! Think: jasmine, coconut, vanilla, orange, ylang-ylang. Since this is a tinted product, I recommend spraying into hands and rubbing into skin to prevent the particles from getting on your bathing suit or clothing. It’ll wash off in the laundry if it does, but this is an easy way to avoid that issue.

NEW! Countersun Aftersun Cooling Gel

Well… have you ever turned over a bottle of drugstore “aloe” gel and looked at the ingredients? Aloe is WAY down the list and those products also contain harmful PEGs and Fragrance. If you’re prone to over-exposure, grab this real aloe gel that also contains sea kelp to relieve and moisturize skin. It also has the naturally-derived Monoi scent like the new Tinted Sunscreen!

Want an SPF Day Lotion too?

Grab the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer (SPF20). I use this instead of foundation on summer morning when I know I will be driving a lot or walking outside. It’s important to keep my face protected throughout my day! It provides light coverage, hydration and a slightly glow-y finish to skin. You can mix it into your foundation to get the benefits of additional coverage plus SPF! It’s also now an option in the 20% off Flawless in Five!

Let me know if you have questions! Which sunscreen are you currently using? I would love to hear!

Therapy Resumes: How to Build One That >Stands Out

Whether you are a new grad, looking to move to a new company, or looking to change settings completely; there are things you can do while writing your resume that will support your aim and help you to stand out!

As a COTA and soon to be OTD, I have had many jobs within the healthcare and therapy field. I have worked in 6 settings (both adult and pediatric) and I have had input on the hiring of new therapists in a couple of these settings!

I may be an odd duck; (actually, I know I am) but I really love writing and formatting resumes! I wanted to take this interest and love and combine it with my husband’s expertise as a recruiter! Although, I think I’ve got a handle on my resumes for the most part, I always ask him for his input. We both have some tips and tricks for you to make resume writing easy, with the end goal of getting that position you are hoping for! I’ll also be answering some FAQ’s that you submitted through the Life’s Occupations’ Instagram page.

First thing is first.

Formatting the Document

  • Margins can be decreased to 1/2″ which will allow you to include more information on one page.
  • Choose a font that is easy to read, but a little different than your typical Times New Roman or Arial.
  • If you’re having alignment issues — use a Microsoft Word template or use LiveCareer Resume Builder to get your format down. You pay for a subscription to LiveCareer, but what I have done in the past is use it for the month I need then end my subscription. With the subscription you can download your Resume in a Word Document and then save that formatting for future versions.
  • ALWAYS SUBMIT YOUR RESUME to an electronic database as a PDF DOCUMENT — this will prevent your handwork in formatting your resume from shifting in the uploading process.

Now the important stuff:

Headings Ideas and What to Include or Omit

Personal Information

I personally like including an Interests section at the bottom of my resume. Many will advise against this citing that even though it is illegal, hiring managers may discriminate based on their opinions of your based on your personal information. I would prefer to work for a company that sees my interests and sees them as an asset. If I include my interest in natural living and life-long learning — and the company judges me based on this, then I don’t really want to work there. That being said, at the beginning of my career when I had less experience and I wanted THAT job, I felt differently. I was willing to curb my personal opinions and preferences to get the experience I was eager to get. All in all, this is going to be at your own discretion! Here is an example of how you could format a section like this.

The Heading

This is where your name and contact information lives. You will want your name to be something that stands out but is not over stylized, but should be the biggest item on the page and call attention to the resume. Recruiters and interviewers see some of the most bizarre email addresses come across their desk — make sure your email address is professional and easy to understand. will be the best choice.

Professional Summary

This is a short, well-written sentence, summing up who you are and what your goal is in submitting your resume. Ex: Doctor of Occupational Therapy student seeking to gain a fieldwork opportunity in an area of interest of challenging setting OR Occupational Therapist seeking to apply skills as a feeding specialist within a pediatric setting which is sensory-based. 


This is where you will list the schools you have attended and the degrees you have earned. Make this part simple and short, the only thing an employer will want to know is where you went and when you graduated. I have never met an employer who cared about my GPA and seasoned therapists will not have this on their resume. I would recommend omitting this from your resume. If you are a stellar student, that is awesome! Highlight your honors society membership at the bottom of your resume in a Community Involvement or Awards section.


This is one of my favorite sections. I like to include experience in two formats; 1) Core Qualifications and Experience and 2) Past and Current Employment.

My Core Qualifications and Experience are at the top of my resume, right underneath my Professional Summary. I like these two sections to live together because I want to grab the readers attention with a summary of myself right from the start. Here is who I am and my intentions (Professional Summary) and here is what I can do (Core Qualifications and Experience). My Job Experience comes underneath the Past and Current Employment section.

Past and Current Employment

In this section, you will want to include the name of the company of facility you worked, the dates you worked there, where it was located, and BRIEF description of your role. If it is more than one sentence, use bullet points to organize the text and consider making the sentences one line of text each. In this section you will want to include relevant employment history. Example: if I am applying for a job as an Occupational Therapist, I will not include my time spent as a student worker on campus sitting at the front desk. I will however, include a Teacher’s Assistant Position in Anatomy Lab from school because this is more clinical and shows that I am strong in Anatomy. If I am not a new grad, I am not going to include that I am a flight attendant 4-6 days a month — this is not relevant and is only going to take up space.

New Grads: This is where you highlight your fieldwork experiences (Level I and II), volunteer experiences and shadowing that you have done on your own outside of your academic program. If you do not have experience in the setting you are applying for, I would get some! Shadow, volunteer, find a mentor — do whatever you can get expose yourself to the setting you want to work in.

Certifications and Competencies

This is where you list your NBCOT license #, state license #, whether or not you are CPR/BLS/Infant CPR certified, FIM Certified, and any other certifications you have obtained throughout your career. If you are looking to switch settings; take a continued education course in the setting you are looking to switch to and list that here! Show that although you may not have opinions of in that area, you have taken initiative to seek out knowledge about that population/setting on your own.

New Grads: This is where you can shine from your fieldwork experiences! If you become competent in an assessment tool, list this here! In Colorado where I practice, these are called “service competencies.”

Tips and Tricks from a Recruiter:

My husband is a recruiter and these were his quick 5 tips on writing resumes for the job you really want. Some of these I need to do to update my resume (which you’ll see in the screen shot examples 😉)

  1. The 1-page rule is a myth, but definitely do not have an excessive amount of information.
  2. Make the resume as relevant as possible to the job you are applying for. Tailor your resume to that job. Don’t make anything up, but look at the job description and to the best of your ability, relate your experience to what they are asking for in a candidate. It is perfectly okay to have multiple resumes, in fact I recommend it.
  3. Keep work experience to the last 10-15 years.
  4. Quantify your experience and accomplishments (led a 15 person team, carried a 45 patient caseload).
  5. Get on LinkedIn and network. Connect with as many people in your field as possible. Connect with hiring managers of the jobs you are applying for and send them simple professional messages when you apply. See if you have a mutual connection with others who already work there to see if there is a potential for a personal or professional referral; these will always increase your chances of getting an interview and getting the job.

Your FAQs:

  1. How do I showcase the important things as a recent graduate and keep it to one page? Per my (recruiter) husband and in my experience, it is not important to keep it to one page! I know some keep a condensed one-page version of their full resume just in case, it’s not important unless that’s what the application requires.
  2. How do I make my resume reflect my passion for life-long learning and advocacy? Reflect this amazing quality throughout! List it in your positions of a role as a teacher and as a leader. Under Certifications and Competencies, list all of your accomplishments and courses you have attended. Consider including a Community Involvement heading a list your advocacy. i.e. Capital Hill day 2019, Lobbied for Bill xxx in the Colorado Capital.
  3. How do I organize my subheadings? However you want! But I personally like to include things that will make me stand out at the top. I don’t think anyone is going to keep reading if I start with listing my alma matters. I choose this order typically; Name/Contact Heading, Professional Summary, Core Qualifications and Experience. Like this:

4. What is more valuable? Experience vs. GPA as a new grad? Experience, always. List your fieldwork opportunities, Level I and II. List shadowing opportunities you completed, volunteer hours — any experience that has exposed reading to the population you want to work with. If you don’t have it to list, I would recommend completing some typically outside of your academic program!
5. I’m a career switcher, I just became an OT. How do I tie in non-OT experience? It’s all about how you frame it. Your prior work experience has prepared you for a career in OT more than you know. I would head my husband’s advice and frame your current experience in terms of the OT job you are applying for’s Job Description. List your prior jobs (if you can make it relevant) and frame your job description this way. But make sure you list your Fieldwork experiences and volunteer hours as well! The fact that you have already held positions in a career is a plus for employers because you are not the typical 24-year-old new grad looking for their first job — own that!

More Questions?

Please reach out! My husband and I would love to answer them, and if you have input you think would be an asset to this post, please contact me! I would love to amend this post to include it.

My (personal) Beef with Chemicals

A quick tip for reading this blog: when there is a linkclick it!

Read the research/article then or bookmark it for later. My research is linked throughout this blog and I made sure to include resources you could read and use. I also encourage you to do your own research on sites like PubMed with keywords like (“phthalate“, “paraben“, “triclosan” “personal care products”). THEN, research your current products — use the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and Think Dirty apps to scan your products and see what’s in them. This will help guide you if you decide to take action after reading all of this!

Let’s start with how I got here — writing a blog about the not so joyous topic that is chemical safety.

As many of you know, I have been on a dedicated mission over the past 5 years to rid my household and my beauty products of harmful chemicals and toxins. I initially started down this road because I was breaking out with contact dermatitis and dermatographia — two condition that cause welts to form on your skin — your skin itches, you itch it, and then welts start to form wherever you scratched or made “contact.” This prompted me to switch out my laundry detergent to Seventh Generation and from there it all began.

To be honest, at first, I thought it was just me and the fact that I have sensitive skin. I figured that chemicals are cool for everyone to use unless you had sensitive skin. But after going down the rabbit hole that is chemical safety research — I found the absolute opposite to be true.

Slowly but surely I began switching to safer products. I was doing pretty well and I was content with where I was at. I figured you can’t protect yourself from everything and I became complacent, to be honest.

THEN, Last year, after falling ill and spending hundreds of dollars of testing to figure out what was happening in my body, I discovered I have autoimmune issues. I struggled for months to get everything under control, I could not believe with how conscious I was with my health, that this was happening. During this time, any products that remained in my home with harmful chemicals were out — some of them literally went down the drain. I again dove into the research — I wanted facts on what was true, data-based, and proven about what was in my products and what they were doing to my body.

Here’s a summary of what my research found:

How Environmental Toxins Can Impact Our Health

Not all chemicals are bad… In fact, the human body is made up of many chemicals – it’s the toxic or harmful chemicals that we need to be educated on.

These are substances that can cause neurological, immune, and biological toxicity, altering how our body functions in a biological manner potentially causing numerous conditions from autoimmune disorders, endocrine disruption, hormone imbalances to cancer and issues with fertility.

Personal Care Products Enter our Bloodstream

through our skin + the air

Our skin is our largest organ and is accepts whatever we put on it! This includes everything you put on your skin, eyes, nails, etc.

Chemicals can also enter through the air and can be as toxic as second-hand smoke. (Don’t get me started on Bath & Body Works and Yankee Candle, it gets ugly — but read more about it here — there are research articles linked throughout). Candles are a great example of airborne chemicals, so are face (makeup) and baby powders — when you apply it you naturally inhale it.

This is NOT About Skin Irritation

Most products will not cause an immediate allergic reaction unless you are allergic to a specific chemical.

It’s about the chronic long-term exposure of using multiple products each with dozens of chemicals that add up and cause biological harm on our systems.

Some statistics about our current health:

Our Government and the FDA look out for these things, right?

WELL! you would think… but here are some not so fun facts;

There is Regulation

(but don’t get too excited…)

Current Regulation in the United States

  • It is currently completely legal for companies to use thousands of harmful chemicals in our personal care, cosmetics products and home cleaning products. Even if the ingredient is linked to cancer or autoimmunity or reproductive harm – there are no repercussions from the government for selling these chemicals to consumers.
  • The last time a major federal law was passed governing safety regulation was 1938 for this modern day $60 Billion industry.
  • Over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into the marketplace since then, the vast majority of them have had no or very limited safety testing
    • Less than 1/3 have publicly available safety data
    • Less than 2% are verified safe for use on children
    • The current regulation is only 1 ½ pages long and only bans or restricts the use of 30 chemicals (1 ½ pages of regulation for over 80,000 chemicals… what?)
    • FDA is unable to verify safety before a product hits the market
    • FDA is unable to issue product recall for known harmful products – you read correctly — if LEAD IS FOUND in a batch of children’s lotions or in women’s lipsticks, the company is not required to recall the product and the FDA cannot call for the products to be recalled either — SO who is in charge here?

What to Look For in Products

  • Supplier screening and consistent quality audits – the supplier needs to be screening their own final products because if they are not, no one else is. 
  • Heavy metal testing
  • EWG Skin Deep Database Verification (Download the App or visit their website)
  • B Corp certified companies
  • Safe Packaging – BPA (bisphenol-A) free and safer plastics, FSC certified paper, and glass

With 80,000 unregulated chemicals, where do I start?

Here are chemicals that are easy to check for on labels and are some of the most harmful:


(Most often found hiding in “Fragrance”)

Endocrine and reproductive hormone disruptors. Commonly found in personal care products like lotions, moisturizers, body wash, hair care, and nail polish. They are one of the more toxic ingredients in PVC plastics which you find in shower curtains.


Parabens are used to prevent the formation of bacteria and mold. Brands source seemingly innocuous ingredients such as grapefruit seed extract or aloe vera that have been preserved using parabens. The ingredient label does not have to disclose this, and it can still legally state the product as preservative and paraben free


Fragrance goes by many names — Parfum, Perfume, Scent — listing “Fragrance” as an ingredient is an industry secret. This works because the industry can currently legally list thousands of undisclosed and untested chemicals under the term “fragrance”. It’s best to source products that contain natural fruit or plant extracts as the scent and have them clearly disclosed on the label.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are most prominent in makeup, face paint, and children’s toys. They are often found in cosmetics like mineral makeup which is likely to pick up heavy metals during the sourcing process.

WHOA – so much.

If you just need to process all of that for now, I get it. It took me weeks to process and it made it hard to use anything in my home or on my body for a long time — I was truly paranoid checking labels and just felt so overwhelmed. It took a while before I could act.

If you would like to make some safer switches, head over the Clean + Conscious Products blog to start the process. It was a slow process for me at first because of the cost. But I’ve got some great ideas on where to start and some amazing product recommendations to make it easy for you.



Human infertility: are endocrine disruptors to blame?

Endocrine and Hormone Disruptors

BPA + Endocrine/Hormone Disruption

EU’s Ban on Phthalates

Little Ones

Exposure to Environmental Endocrine Disruptors and Child Development

Childhood Cancer – More Evidence Points to Chemical Exposure


Breast cancer + Personal Care Products

Chemical Safety in the Mainstream Press

CBS: Phthalates: Are They Safe?

TIME Magazine: The Hidden Dangers of Makeup and Shampoo

TIME Magazine: How the Government Can Help Prevent Your Makeup From Harming You

COSMO: 10 American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries