Tips for Dressing Your Child With Sensory Issues
That itchy, scratchy sweater that grandma bought you for your birthday. Socks that get scrunched around your feet inside your winter boots. The shirt with the one annoying tag digging into your side. No one likes uncomfortable clothes. These feelings are even worse if you’re a child with sensory sensitives. Fortunately, we’ve compiled tips for dressing your child with sensory issues.
For some kids with sensory issues, the idea of change is the hardest part. The weather gets cold, and suddenly they have to wear a big, bulky jacket they didn’t have to wear before. Or they have to put on a suit for the first time for a wedding.
Sometimes, gently allowing a kid to get used to the idea of an outfit can do wonders for helping a kid wear it. Keep the outfit around for a few weeks in advance so they can get used to how it looks. Allow them to touch it with their hand or rub it against their face. Then slowly, have them practice wearing it for brief periods of time.
Focus on Texture
By far, the biggest hurdle for dressing a child with sensory issues is the issue of texture. This can encompass shirts that have seams, rough jeans, tight pants, or fabrics they perceive as itchy. As we mentioned, you can use acclimation techniques to help kids adapt to these types of clothing. But rather than resign your child to being uncomfortable all the time, it’s best to explore comfortable options.
Every child will have different texture preferences, but clothing made of cotton, bamboo, fleece, or jersey are often popular choices. Comfortable clothes don’t have to be frumpy or unstylish. Look for track suits or T-shirts with bold designs or patterns to combine comfort and style.
Be Wary of Detergent
Even the softest clothes may feel uncomfortable to kids depending on how they’re washed. Pay attention to how a child responds to clothes after they’ve been washed with a certain kind of laundry detergent or fabric softener.
Touch isn’t the only sensation that can be problematic for sensory sensitive kids. Smell has a role to play as well, and laundry detergents come with all sorts of aromas. Try opting for odorless detergents to see if that impacts how a child sees an article of clothing.
Give Kids a Say
At the end of the day, as much as we want to teach our kids how to dress, it isn’t us who’ll be wearing the clothes. It’s them. So, give them choices when it’s time to get dressed. For example, ask, “Hey, champ. Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the green shirt today?” Keeping in mind a child’s preferences will help them feel better about the clothes they put on their body.