Springing into Spring with a Sensory Sensitive Child

Spring is in the air and to many people, that is welcome news!  But parents of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, that is not always the case.  There are a lot of reasons that make spring a little difficult for these children.

Allergies

Oh yes, allergies.  While nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes can be annoying to most people that suffer from them, for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, allergies are even worse.  When a child is hypersensitive to sensory input, a body’s reaction to allergens can be intolerable.

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Photo courtesy of fda.org

Many people think there is precious little you can do to prevent allergies, but there are actually a lot of things that can be done to help any allergy sufferer.  If your sensory sensitive child has a difficult time managing seasonal allergies you may want to try HEPA air filters, as well as a HEPA vacuum cleaner.  A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, can trap pollens, dander and other allergens.  Another way to keep allergens out of the house is to wash window screens, or better yet, resist the urge to open them up.  An allergy sufferer should also wash their hair and body at the end of each day to wash away the pollens before going to bed.  Wash clothing items that are typically not washed as often (like shoes or jackets) more often.  Finally, if you child will tolerate it, use a saline rinse to clear nasal passages of allergens.

Weather

The changes in weather and temperature from cold, dry winter to a warm/cool, wet and budding spring can really affect the senses.  The scents of grass and trees budding and the cleansing rain washing away the winter might be a great sensation to most of us, but the change can be overwhelming to the sensory sensitive kid.

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Photo courtesy of farmersalmanac.com

There isn’t a whole lot that can be done to change the weather.  The spring weather is coming sooner or later.  You can help your child to “warm up” to the weather changes by talking about them ahead of time.  “I’m looking forward to the sweet smell of the trees and flowers budding,” you might try.  Or, “the spring rain is nature’s way of giving the earth a bath.  It will feel so good.”

Clothing

I don’t know about you, but changing out the winter wardrobe can feel a little strange at first.  Lighter fabrics, shorter sleeves, shoes without socks, and frankly lighter weight clothes all around all can feel so different after the long winter of bundling up.  It can take a little time transitioning, especially for someone that has sensory challenges.

The easiest thing you can do to help your child transition to spring clothes is to make sure and wash them all beforehand.  New things may be scratchy and older things may need to be freshened up after sitting in the closet all winter.  Make sure everything fits properly.  If your kiddo has grown enough, old things may be a little tight, which might be uncomfortable to your child.  Make sure to avoid clothing with scratchy tags, elastic waistbands or cuffs and annoying seams.  SmartKnitKIDS seamless undies and socks feel great against the skin.

Daylight Savings Time

Many children thrive on routine and when that routine is disrupted just a little bit (looking at you, Daylight Savings Time), it can wreck havoc on the whole family.  A sensory sensitive kid may have a tough time coping with the change, especially the spring change when everything gets a little earlier.

Well, we’re a little late to the game on this year’s Daylight Savings Time prep, but it never hurts lay out a good plan for future.  The easiest way to prepare a child for Daylight Savings Time change is to gradually move bedtime back by several minutes each day by several days in advance.  The gradual change will be less taxing on the child’s internal clock making the time change easier.

With a little bit of preparation, even your most sensory sensitive child can successfully navigate their way into spring.

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