Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Sensory Tips

Summer is almost here and most of us are looking forward to the long, lazy days ahead.  We enjoy the laid back routines, the lack of rushing and the fun activities available in the summer.  But, all these things that we, and typical kids, enjoy and look forward to can be very stressful for a child with sensory needs.  The more stressed these children are, the more behaviors they exhibit and the more stressful and unpleasant it is for the entire family.  So, we will provide some tips and ideas in the next few posts to help you, and your child with sensory needs, make a smooth transition into the summer months. 
1- Don't entirely throw out structure in your days
Kids with sensory challenges crave structure and routine.  They need to know what to expect during their day and changes can be stressful and unpleasant.  While we aren't suggesting that you maintain your hectic school/work/activity schedule, we do suggest keeping some structure in your days.  Keep to a bedtime routine.  If you are going to let your child stay up a little later, be sure he/she is getting the same amount of sleep as during the school year and continue with a familiar bedtime ritual.  Keep a calendar visible and mark off each day of summer for your child to see.  If needed, allow your child to see a schedule for each day, whether a picture schedule or in writing, so that he/she will know what to expect throughout the day.  And, limit unnecessary transitions during your day.
2-Limit Stressful activities
Some children with sensory difficulties do not like loud, hectic environments.  If the pool is overly crowded and loud during the middle of the day, go in the early evening or late afternoon when it starts clearing out.  Bowling alleys and the loud bang of the pins can be stressful, so either go at non-peak times, or bring ear buds or head phones for your child to dilute the sounds.  

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