While most families look forward to the warm spring weather, there are some of us who look at the transition in weather with anxiety. Similarly, many kids love the cold weather and can’t wait for snow! Other children prefer not to wear any clothing.
Why? Sensory Processing Disorder may make transitions in clothing from season to season difficult. Many children have a great deal of fear and worry about moving from long-sleeved shirts to short sleeves or from pants to shorts. You are not alone if your child is NOT dressing appropriately for the weather conditions outside. According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (www.spdfoundation.net) ” 1 in every 20 children may be affected by Sensory Processing Disorder” (SPD). Sensory dysfunctions can occur in any area (or any sense). The largest organ of the human body is the skin, so chances are great that skin receptors may be affected by sensory issues.
3) Offer him two choices of clothing/outfits daily. Giving him control over his clothing can really make him feel in charge of things. Of course, you can pre-select which two choices you offer to ensure that clothing is appropriate for the weather that day.
4) Ask him which type of clothing he prefers to wear. Patterns, textures, buttons, seams, and zippers all matter to children with SPD. Their existence on a shirt can cause a child anxiety and discomfort. For example, two summers ago my son absolutely refused to wear any shirts with patterns on them. So, we purchased t-shirts in all solid colors. He tolerated the plain shirts well! The next summer when we went through his drawers he began to cry and show signs of great anxiety. We realized that he now (a year later) had changed and insisted on wearing only shirts with stripes on them……..it’s like playing detective!
5) Let him practice before he must actually wear the clothing outside. Give him a day/time in which he will be wearing the clothing. Let’s use shorts for example. “On Saturday, we are going to practice wearing our shorts. You only have to wear them for an hour and will get a sticker (or some reward).” Build up the time he wears the clothing be sure to provide lots of praise and encouragement….this is hard work for him!
The absolute worst thing to do is to force him to wear the clothing that he does not want to wear. How would you like it if someone made you wear a scratchy wool sweater? Choose your battles. Sometimes, it’s better to have a child who is actually dressed rather than one who matches perfectly. Try to relax and stay calm…..your child takes his cues from you!
We KNOW you can do this….remember that you are not alone. Let us know how it goes!