The Morning Rush


Morning routines are rushed and stressful in many homes, but if your child is overly sensitive to the feel of clothing, getting dressed can be a torturous process for both of you. Children with sensory defensiveness can be derailed by fabrics, textures, seams, tightness, looseness, collars and changes in clothing necessary because of the weather. Clothing may range from uncomfortable to painful, distract your child all day long and intrude in his/her participation in the activities that shape his/her day. The good news is that there are strategies you can implement to make your morning routine run more smoothly and eliminate the anxiety caused by uncomfortable clothing:

  1. Sweatpants, yoga pants, and leggings will feel a lot better than jeans

  2. Sweatshirts, pull-overs, and t-shirts will be preferred to button down or collared shirts

  3. Let your child approve clothing once you bring it home. Once you find acceptable clothing, buy several pairs so clean clothing is always available

  4. Pre-wash clothing before wearing

  5. Try different brands/scents of detergent and fabric softener to see if they impact on the acceptability of clothing

  6. Consider purchasing tagless/seamless underwear and socks

  7. If you cannot find seamless and tagless garments, cut out labels and tags

  8. Layer spandex, Lycra exercise-type clothes or compression garments such as Under Armour under regular clothes for evenly distributed deep pressure input and calming

  9. Give choices wherever possible to give your child a sense of control

  10. In order to minimize any conflict that may arise in the morning let your child pick out clothing the night before, and lay them out like a “person” so that your child can climb right in

  11. Spend 5 minutes doing sensory preparation before getting dressed. Proprioceptive or “heavy work” activities are most calming and organizing:

  • Make a “sandwich” using pillows and blankets.

  • Roll up in blankets like a “hotdog”, give a few pillow squishes, and roll out of blanket quickly.

  • Jump on cushions or mattresses.

  • Play “Hide and Seek” under cushions and pillows.

  • Give bear hugs (child faces away from you).

  • Give slow back rubs or massages.

  • Layer spandex or Lycra exercise-type clothes under regular clothes for calming, evenly distributed deep pressure input

12. If your child is sensitive to temperature, dress him/her in layers so that he/she can remain comfortable throughout the day

Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR and Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR, Director POTS

#gettingreadyforschool, #sensorydefensiveness, #tactiledefensiveness, #sensorystrategies, #sensoryprocessingdisorder, #sensoryprocessingdisorderautism, #autism, #SPD

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