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How to help your child’s sensory needs


Embrace the Sensory Diet

A 'sensory diet' is a series of activities introduced in a playful, gentle manner that helps kids ease into various sensations. The key thing is to introduce varied experiences that work for your child’s sensory needs in a safe and comfortable environment, so at home is the perfect place!

                                                                                                                         

What does this look like at home?

A vital part of supporting a child with sensory needs is making their environment as comfortable as possible. This could mean using sound-blocking headphones to regulate noise, opting for tag-free and loose clothing, or allowing sunglasses under bright lights. Breaking down tasks into simple steps can also make daily routines less overwhelming. 

Here are some ideas:


Sound Soothing: 

Use calming music or white noise during quiet times or transitions. Play audiobooks or soundscapes when it is bedtime to help them fall asleep. For example using a YOTO cube and letting them choose the sounds they find relaxing and enjoyable, incorporate these sounds into the nighttime routine and throughout the day. This can be especially helpful for children who are sensitive to noise.


Visual Calm: 

Create a visually soothing environment, use soft ambient lights like a Night light or Star projector. Add visual aids like a Fibre optic lamp, Lava lamp , sandscape, glitter jar or bubble lamp. Again, let your child pick out what is visually pleasing and calming for them, and incorporate that into a safe, soothing visual space. It would be a great fun to make some of these things together.


Weighted Wonder: 

feelings of pressure and compression can be helpful and comforting for some children. So, getting a Weighted blanket , weighted teddy , weighted vest, or lap and shoulder weights. Keep these into safe spaces, these can be particularly helpful before and during tasks that require concentration, for example maybe having a lap blanket close to the dinner table?

 

Craft a Sensory Zone

For children who seek sensory input, creating a dedicated 'sensory zone' can be a game-changer. This could be a corner with fabric blocks to crash into, a bin filled with rice and hidden treasures. Active equipment like ball pits and climbing frames would be a great edition. Activities like climbing, jumping, and swinging provide proprioceptive and vestibular feedback, assisting in nervous system regulation and body organisation. We all need this throughout the day.


For older kids, engage them in activities like carrying groceries as this can also provide the sensory input they crave. Encourage your child to play with different textures, such as play dough, sand, or water beads. This can help stimulate tactile senses and promote fine motor skills. Another activity could be 'sensory baking'. Engage them in activities that involves all the senses like baking; let them feel the texture of flour and dough, smell the finished product, listen to the sound of the mixture after adding each ingredient, and taste it.  Schedule in activities that get the body moving, such as a walk, bike ride, or a game of catch. This can help with proprioceptive input which helps with body awareness.

 

If you think your child will laugh at the suggestion of playdoh - get some air dry clay and let them do pottery, they will be motivated and have a sense of achievement when they see the finished products.  

 

Sensory input happens all day, every day, so understanding what arouses your child's senses or what helps them 'rest and digest' is a game changer for happy and calm family life.


Some product more sensory products to try:

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