Inside: Autism Classroom's guest blog series, showcasing with articles/blogs, supports and resources from various educators.
The holidays are quickly approaching and while many of us are already thinking about what food we will serve, what family members we will visit and what gifts we will purchase, some individuals are trying to figure out how to best help their sensory sensitive child with the transition to winter clothing.
Winter clothing can feel heavier and less comfortable for children who have sensory sensitivities. Just think about the heavy coats, scarves, thicker pants, layers, scratchier textures, etc. that typically comes along with the transition to winter clothing. But just because the transition may be trickier does not mean it's impossible! Here are some ways to help children with the transition to winter clothing.
Prepare Ahead of Time!
Depending on where you live, the change in weather could happen in what seems to be overnight! But this does not mean you should expect your child to tolerate the change in clothing so drastically. Start preparing your child ahead of time by discussing the change in seasons and what this means in terms of change in clothing. Read books and watch videos that help them get their minds ready for the change.
Practice wearing various winter articles of clothing to test out and see what your child tolerates. You may slowly introduce new articles of clothing by playing games and having the child to act out or tell you how they feel when wearing various clothing. You may slowly introduce one new article at a time. Also, practice on days when you are less busy and not trying to rush out of the house! When introducing such change, you want the environment to be as relaxed as possible.
Purchase Sensory Friendly Clothing!
We live in a time where you can actually purchase clothing that has been made for children with sensory needs! Since winter clothing may be worn for longer periods of time, you want to make sure that the clothing closest to their skin is the most comfortable. You also want to make sure that if the child is wearing layers, the layers are easy to remove if necessary.
Winter is a great time of year that offers so many exciting new opportunities such as sledding, playing in the snow and holiday gatherings. Sometimes participation in such activities is enough motivation for children to want to wear their winter clothing. So encourage your child to wear winter clothing so that they can stay warm and safe during such fun activities.
The proprioceptive sense is one of the “hidden” senses in our bodies. We cannot visually “see” it but it is felt and recognized through the input we provide to our muscles and joints. When we work our muscles and joints we are providing our proprioceptive systems with feedback that help our bodies with regulation and body awareness. Providing proprioceptive input such as joint compressions or “body squeezes”, tight hugs, vibration and heavy work activities can help to regulate and calm your child’s nervous system which can help to prepare their body for the wearing of winter clothing.
Have fun implementing these tips to help your child have an easier time with transitioning into the upcoming winter months!