If your child struggles with sensory issues, then you know it. The. Relentless. Struggle. To. Get. Them. To. Leave. The. House.
And I find it really hard to understand the steadfast refusal to go anywhere. The first answer to “Let’s go to…” is always No!
And it doesn’t matter if it’s the beach. Or the zoo. Or the toy store. The default answer is always No!
Plus that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach about whether yet another happy family outing is going to end in a meltdown.
Objectively you know why. You get that that your sensory kid gets overwhelmed by crowds, loud noises or bright light. But it still doesn’t make it easier to deal with.
Especially because you are just trying to do your best.
So here are 3 things that you can do to make it easier for your sensory kid – and yourself – to leave the house and live your life.
- Plan some activities together;
- Put them on the calendar;
- Give advance warning.
1. Make your plans together
As far as possible, include your child in deciding what activities you want to do and when. He will likely come up with his own ideas for excursions that he really wants to do. Plus, it could help him remember them.
2. Put your plans on the calendar
Once you have a list of planned activities, fill in your planned excursion dates on a calendar. Either do this together or let him have the responsibility of doing it himself. This gives him ownership and a sense of control over his own destiny.
Because not feeling in control is often the cause of a meltdown.
3. Give advance warning
And then the most important thing to do is to gently remind your sensory kid ahead of time about the outing. That way it’s not a shock and you hopefully avoid the “leaving the house” meltdown completely.
And a special bonus tip: establish sensory breaks
It really helps a sensory kid to have a safe place to go and have a “time out” when he is struggling and you can see the overwhelm building up ahead of a meltdown.
An over-stimulated child can help themselves by walking away from the action every half hour or so. Obviously, it should be to a place where the supervising adult can still see them. But try and make this part of the plan before you go out.
So, before you leave the house, decide where the sensory break place will be and how to put it in place. If your child is in preschool or early years, you may have to set an alarm and send him on the break at 30 minute intervals.
If they’re a bit older, they can take responsibility for it themselves. But set clear ground rules about what is acceptable – and safe – and what is not.
I know it’s not easy for you or your child. But together you will win this.
And click the link below for more great tips on how to help your sensory kid.