If you’re a mom with a child who is a bit picky and particular about clothing, getting your little one dressed can be a rather stressful experience. Children with tactile sensitivities often struggle with a change of season — having to get used to wearing vests, and layers, boots and socks, or suddenly baring legs and arms. Here are some tips to make this transition stress free and even fun!
- Using visual schedules helps. Give your child a sequence of pictures of the dressing process — they can help to draw and decorate this, making it more fun. You can be creative in this process and use Velcro to let your little one move the item of clothing from a ‘to do’ list to a ‘done’ list as they get through the dressing.
- Getting organised is important. You can help your child choose their clothes for the next day the night before. This takes a lot of fighting out of the morning schedule.
- Try the friction rub. When we step out into cold weather, we rub our arms and hands — this friction helps our bodies adjust to the temperature. A simple rub down game just after dressing can help the body habituate quicker. SO… count down, 3..2..1, then quickly and firmly put the top on and then rub rub rub! You can sing a song to get this done.
- Competitions often help. Can you get dressed quicker than Mom?!
- Help your child understand their body. They are not imagining it — they really are more sensitive than you — their bodies struggle to ‘get used’ to a light touch or constricting bands, seams and labels. An irritating twisted sleeve may annoy you for a few seconds before your body ‘ignores’ it, but for a child with sensitivities, they just can’t get used it and feel it all morning. This challenges concentration and even often leads to irritable children and tantrums. If they can understand that their bodies are more sensitive and more special, then they can join you as a team in learning about what makes their bodies feel good and comfortable.
- Look for soft clothing that breathes. Seamless socks and seamless underwear, soft bras and seamless tank tops are great ways to ensure that the clothing touching the skin is comfortable. There are not many options available for seamless clothing.
If dressing problems persist and are severe, then find a sensory integration trained occupational therapist to give you specific advice.
Tips and advice courtesy of Jacqui Jorge — on behalf of Sensory Care.