“I don’t know why but my son all the sudden seems sensitive to wearing shirts and fights me any time I put one on!”
Those were my friends words as she called me hoping to get clarification about her son’s newest behaviors.
Frustrated, she had tried everything.
- she told him sternly to put a shirt on
- she let him pick out his own shirt
- she let him go without shirts all day until they needed to go somewhere
- she taking away privileges if he didn’t wear a shirt
You name it, she had exhausted all her resources trying to figure out what was going on and how to help her sensitive kid get dressed without causing a fight every time.
Being a parent of a kid with such strong preferences is HARD. There’s no way around it.
Other people judge, give advise, or place blame.
It all feels so isolating, and when that happens, our mommy guilt sets in and we start to wonder where we went wrong.
I will be the first to tell you all that there’s NOT a magic 4 step formula to make all the stress disappear. Despite all the advice and “quick fixes” others will give you, those all miss key concepts that are important to addressing the true reason behind the resistance to change or take off clothes.
BUT I can tell you how to change 4 simple things to;
- decrease the struggles/meltdowns/tantrums
- help ease the anxiety
- decrease the sensitivity
- and help your child work through or with their sensitivities without a fight
It all starts by understanding the simple reasons why sensitive kids have a hard time getting dressed.
1. Recognize It For What It Is
The best place to start is to identify your child’s very normal sensory preferences, download the free workbook here.
2. Talk openly about it with your child
(All the steps needed are outlined in the video.)
3. Decrease or work with the sensitivity/don’t fight it
Most people call this a “sensory diet.” Don’t let the fancy lingo fool you, we all have sensory preferences, being able to meet those preferences or not fight them helps reduce the frustration of trying to deal with them.
For more information about how to work with the sensory system, watch this online workshop.
4. Make a Plan With Your Child
Create routines like the one we used when my son had a hard time getting dressed.
Other great resources for ways to meet those needs easily;
The SuperKids Activity Guide (mentioned in the video) has an entire section with ideas about morning routines and different activities to help sensitive kids.
Recommended Items to Help Decrease Sensitivity:
(Affiliate links used below)
Tighter shirts can be less difficult for many kids, so try going for something like these
Otherwise, go for layers with either a tank top or t-shirt. Layering works for some kids, but not all. Use the tips in the video to find out what works for your child.
As my friend now knows her son is not just in a difficult phase and that there isn’t anything “wrong” with him, she seemed to relax and feel less isolated about what was going on. The fights will decrease, the stress will be minimized as they work through it together, which is what I want for each of you as well.
Dealing with sensitive kids is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We’re all in this together!