Spring is here! This is the time of year that most of us look forward to: the weather grows warmer and the days grow longer. But for kids with sensory processing needs, who struggle with change, this can be a very difficult time of year. Warmer weather, longer daylight hours and changes in routine and clothing can all exacerbate sensory sensitivities. If you have a child with sensory processing issues,here are some strategies to help with the sometimes stressful transition.
The change of clothing at this time of year brings a host of new sensations. Lighter fabrics, shorter sleeves, shoes without socks, and lighter weight clothes all around can feel so different after a long winter of bundling up. The easiest thing you can do to help your child transition to spring clothes is to make sure to wash them all beforehand. New clothing may be scratchy and older clothing may need to be freshened up after sitting in the closet all winter. Make sure everything fits properly. Some children benefit from clothing that fits a bit tighter. The short sleeved Tee or tank top can be worn alone or for a snug fit under clothing. Both are designed to provide all-day deep pressure on arms, trunk and hips.
Spring isn’t all daisies for some kids. It can be disruptive and can make children who thrive on a schedule and predictability feel off kilter. The weather can be really unpredictable. One day we’re wearing winter coats because it’s barely 30 degrees, the next day we’re running around without a jacket at all. Layering can be a good way to help with this transition. Spring can be a perfect time for layering with a vest. Our weighted vests are terrific for adding a calming effect to help your kids concentrate and get the input they need. Try our Denim, Honeycomb, or Down Vest to get all the benefits of weight and compression.
In addition, all of the all new sounds and smells that accompany spring can be overwhelming. The scent of fresh grass and new tree buds in the air. The cleansing rains that wash away the dirty snow and feed the emerging flowers. The sounds of birds chirping and frogs croaking can be heard at new levels. Try our noise reduction headphones to help block out the noises but allow participation in outdoor events.
Allergies tend to flare up with changes in the weather. People who don’t have them often think they are a minor inconvenience of the sniffles. Even if your child has a mild case of allergies, the changes in his body could be enough to throw him off. Allergies can make you tired, spacey and grumpy. They can make your eyes itch and sting, and your skin can feel like it’s crawling. For a child who’s hypersensitive to sensory input, it can be really challenging. When allergies flare up, think about what your child’s coping mechanisms may be. For example, some children may revert to head banging to attempt to escape the feeling they are experiencing. Adding weight and compression, as well as vibration, can provide more effective ways to cope with the allergy flare-ups.
We become more active when the weather warms. Children tend to play outside longer both at home and school. There are more daylight hours which can throw off a child’s internal clock, making it more difficult to self- regulate. Spring is also a time where there are more activities scheduled both at school and within the community. Try and maintain your routine as much as possible and recognize that your child may require more sensory breaks and tricks than normally required. Allot time in the mornings and evenings to organize the mind and body. Try a calming swing, weighted blanket, or cozy canoe before bedtime. Use a jumping board, a trampoline or jump rope to provide input to achieve more alertness in the mornings.