Does your child refuse to wear a coat or hat, or if they wear a coat do they refuse to fasten it? Do they also prefer minimum clothes on at home and throw their covers off in bed? It is likely that they just feel things differently than you do. We all experience sensory input in different ways which is why some people like baths, some like showers; some like hot and spicy food, some like it mild at room temperature. Some people like quiet atmosphere and some love crowds.
It’s important for us to acknowledge the differences and honor the sensory processing behaviors in our children. Let them know what you experience and then tell them what you notice about what they seem to prefer. Make concessions when possible. Here are some examples:
- For your young ones you could put up at temperature chart on your refrigerator and give them an idea of what outerwear to wear for different weather. Let them keep their coat unfastened.
- If they perceive daily oatmeal to be too hot, pop an ice cube in before they start complaining.
- If seams or tags seem to bother them, let them wear their socks inside out, cut off the tags and buy the softer more worn clothing at the thrift shops.
- If your child is sensitive to noise, it can lead to an issue with social outings and even grocery stores. Try offering them ear plugs (if they are older) or noise blocking headphones.
We all make adjustments as we experience sensory input in our daily lives. Honor your children’s adjustments and don’t sweat the small stuff!
Laura Kett is an occupational therapist in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. She homeschooled her 3 (now grown) daughters for many years. They still remember the “weather and clothing chart” posted on their refrigerator. Check out her website at: www.laurakettOT.com