If you have a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD) or a highly sensitive temperament, you know change can wreak havoc on your family’s harmony. Environmental triggers can cause behavioral meltdowns, and if you aren’t prepared, you could feel like you’re losing the parenting game. Young kids often lack the vocabulary to explain what bothers them, and they can act out as a result. If your little ones know what to expect, you can make the transition smoother.
Stock up on Necessities
Like a Southern belle preparing for a freak snowstorm, you need to stock your home and your child’s backpack with necessities to help them cope. For example, many children find fidget toys to keep them focused and organized. Coloring books soothe even adults, and listening to music can tame the most irrational temper. Make sure you have ample earbuds for their iPods and crayons and pencils sharpened.
Prepare Your Home
The changing season means allergies become a problem, and these can create misery for sensitive children. Plus, pollen isn’t your little one’s only nemesis. The air quality in your home can be two to five times filthier than the outside due to secondhand smoke, pet dander and improper maintenance.
Take the following steps to prep your home:
- Change your filters: Fiberglass models need to be changed every month, so do it when you pay your rent or mortgage to make it a snap to remember.
- Eliminate scented candles: These can emit toxins like toluene that irritate sensitive nasal passages.
- Step up your vacuuming: Fifi and Fido create a ton of dander. While most experts recommend vacuuming weekly, you might need to do so daily if you have multiple furbabies.
Clean Out Their Closet
If your child refuses to wear the wool sweater, Aunt Edna knitted, they might not be acting deliberately obstinate. Many children with SPD find clothing textures objectionable, and fixing the problem is kinder than punishing your little one. Look for seamless socks and always remove tags from items, as these can irritate sensitive skin. Give your kiddo input on selecting their outfits and note what they don’t like. Tell other family members so they can make proper choices for birthday and holiday gift-giving.
Identify Meltdown Signs and Exit Strategies
Learn the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown so you don’t punish your child for behavior they might not be able to control. Meltdowns are tearful, panicky or withdrawn reactions to everyday stimuli, and they don’t stop until your child reaches exhaustion.
Triggers of a meltdown include growing increasingly cranky, so when you notice this behavior, identify an exit strategy. When visiting relatives, for example, let them know they shouldn’t feel insulted if you leave the gathering early. At school, let teachers know about your child’s needs and establish practices like locating a safe, quiet location where your little one can go if things get too intense.
Introduce Age-Appropriate Self-Soothing Techniques
Even young children can learn yoga and meditation techniques if you introduce them correctly. You can have them arch like a Halloween kitty or breathe like Darth Vader. You can also invest in a weighted blanket to comfort your little one like a hug when they feel overwhelmed.
Your Sensory Sensitive Child and the Changing Seasons
Change can upset sensitive children, and the turn of the seasons is no exception. However, by following the tips above, you can prepare yourself and your little one for the transition.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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