Importance: Practitioners seek evidence from intervention effectiveness studies to provide best-practice services for children.
Objective: To examine the effectiveness of occupation- and activity-based interventions to improve instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and sleep outcomes for children and youth ages 5–21 yr.
Data Sources: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, ERIC, OTseeker, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Study Selection and Data Collection: The American Occupational Therapy Association research methodologist conducted the first review of literature published from 2000 to 2017. The results were exported, and we completed the subsequent stages of review. Only peer-reviewed Level I, II, and III evidence was reviewed. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and the Cochrane risk-of-bias guidelines were used to compile evidence and risk-of-bias tables.
Findings: We reviewed 96 articles; 28 studies met the inclusion criteria for IADL and rest–sleep outcomes. Analysis resulted in several themes: rest–sleep, health management (nutrition–dietary, physical activity–fitness, wellness), and the IADLs of driving, communication management, and safety. Strong evidence exists for interventions embedded in school programming to improve physical activity and fitness and for sleep preparation activities to maximize quality of rest and sleep. Moderate-strength evidence exists for interactive education and skills training interventions to improve health routines, dietary behaviors, and IADL participation and performance.
Conclusions and Relevance: Use of skills-focused training in activity- and occupation-based interventions was supported. Service provision in the context of natural environments, including school settings and with parental or caregiver participation, is recommended for children and youth ages 5–21 yr with varied abilities and diagnoses.
What This Article Adds: Occupational therapy practitioners can confidently examine their current practices and choose activity- and occupation-based interventions and methods of service delivery that are supported by evidence.