Getting dressed can be a battle for children who are highly sensitive or who have neurological differences. Here are some ideas to reduce the stress while getting dressed.
- Soft Clothing
Know exactly what type of clothing to look for: soft, breathable fabrics, tagless, covered elastic bands, no metal parts, no heavy embroidery or applique. Babeeni offers thousands of soft clothing items for your sensory sensitive child.
- Find Alternatives
Believe your child when he or she says that clothing is irritating. Use the opportunity to find a solution to the problem together. Wearing a tagless undershirt increases overall comfort; substituting cotton jersey leggings for tights makes wearing a skirt much more pleasant.
- Let Your Child Choose
Allow the child to select clothing as often as possible. My 5 year old sometimes likes to dress all in black “just like Darth Vader.” At other times he wants to dress in a roller coaster or monster truck theme. This type of experimentation increases his sensory tolerance.
- Find The Right Undergarments
Make sure that socks and underwear are as comfortable as possible. An entire day can be ruined by rebellious socks that get bunched up inside shoes or underwear that chafes around the hips. Smart knit kids makes seamless socks and underwear that are designed to minimize irritation for sensitive children.
Some families find that tagless boys’ boxer briefs with covered waistbands are the most comfortable for boys and girls – the elastic bands around the groin area can be very painful on standard boys’ and girls’ briefs. Kids also prefer socks that are slightly too small because they fit more tightly and don’t bunch up inside their shoes.
- Don’t Always Dress For The Weather
Be flexible about dressing for the weather. Kid will insist on wearing kid long sleeves and long pants all year round, because he does not like the feeling of air on his arms and legs. When he was a toddler, he refused to put on a coat or mittens on the coldest days of winter.
The strategy is to allow him to choose his clothing, but you carry the back-up clothing for the moment when the reality of the outside temperature hits him. “Oh, you’re sweaty and overheated? Here’s a short-sleeve t-shirt.” “You’re shivering. Here’s a hat. Oh, now your fingers are cold? I have some mittens right here.” It works every time.
- Open-toe or closed-toe?
Sometimes the only way to get a child to wear any shoes at all is to allow sandals or flip-flops. But there’s a downside. Wearing sandals can prevent certain activities – indoor playgrounds require socks and outdoor playgrounds usually have wood chips, which can splinter inside the sandal. It’s also unsafe to run or climb in sandals.
These physical activities are absolutely necessary for highly sensitive children. Therefore, ask your children to wear sneakers with socks unless you are going to the beach.
- Choose your kid pajamas carefully
Choose pajamas and blankets to get a good night’s rest. Tired, cranky kids are hypersensitive and my kids are both night-wakers. If he wears warmer fleece pajamas, he gets sweaty and wakes up because of the wetness. I finally solved the problem by having him wear his usual cotton knit pajamas with a footed fleece sleeper on top. The breathable cotton fabric prevented the clamminess on his skin, and the fleece sealed in his warmth, and he started sleeping through the night.