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Summertime Tips for Kids with Sensory Issues

June 30, 2015

tips for kids with sensory issues

For kids with sensory issues, summertime brings a new set of considerations and special concerns. The air conditioner is too cold. The sunshine is too bright. The sand is too gritty. Sound familiar? To help your little one have fun in the sun this summer, consider the following:

  • Water Play – Consider the temperature, size and depth of the water. You may want to introduce water play by using a water table with just a few inches of lukewarm water and a cup, bowl or other toys. 
  • Textures – Summer sandals and bare feet may present new textures, such as grass, gravel, stones and sand. Start slowly by having your child touch the new surface with their toes and eventually the entire foot. You may want to consider sand/water shoes if you are planning a trip to the beach.
  • Sunscreen – Protection from the sun’s harmful rays is important, and fortunately there are many options. Depending on your child’s aversions, he or she may do better with a lotion or a spray sunblock. Consider both and make sure other caregivers are aware of your child’s preference.
  • Sunlight – When the sun is too bright for sensitive eyes, consider other sun protection, such as hats, sunglasses and umbrellas.
  • Clothing/Textiles – Kids who are sensitive to textures and touch may prefer long or short sleeve shirts when in the water and/or to be rubbed firmly with a big, heavy beach towel when getting out of the pool or ocean. Being prepared with plenty of clothing/textile choices could make a trip to the beach or pool go more smoothly.
  • Temperature – Summertime temperatures vary greatly with the sun heating up things outside and air conditioners cooling off things inside. When out and about, bring along a cardigan or other layering option for your child.
  • Vacation Options – Popular vacation destinations, like beaches and amusement parks, can cause strong reactions for children with sensory issues. Consider the sights, sounds and smells on a beach, boardwalk or amusement park. If it is too overwhelming for your child, consider alternatives or adaptions – perhaps choose a less crowded beach or bring along a camping tent to shield your child from the sand or the sun. If you want to experience a trip to the beach or a campground and still control sensory input, set up your own back-yard beach scene or campout!
  • Sounds – From Fourth of July fireworks to roaring lawnmowers to the wafting music of fairs and festivals, summertime sounds can be intimidating and loud. When possible, be prepared with ear protection, like noise-canceling headphones. If you have a neighbor who loves pyrotechnics, ask him or her to give you a little warning before setting off fireworks so that you can prepare your child.

To request an appointment with Good Shepherd Pediatrics, please call 1-888-44-REHAB(73422).