Sensory Seekers

June 15, 2013

Sensory Seekers
We have all seen them (or maybe we have a child like this), the climbers, runners, jumpers, those kiddos that take risks and don’t even consider the consequences of their actions. They are always going a million miles per minute, and by the end of the day you’re exhausted – who wouldn't be!

The picture is of my daughter (sorry about the quality). We went through 3 different ball pits that year and spent all of our extra time picking up the balls that bounced or were thrown out. She was a sensory seeker from the get-go. She didn’t learn to walk, she started running right away. She would run into the wall, (wouldn’t phase her one bit) crash into furniture, and jump all over the place! She taught me more about sensory that I ever learned in school.

Although there are many factors that could be contributing to this sensory seeking behavior; this post is geared towards what you can do about it. Following are some nice and easy suggestions that you can implement at home to reduce sensory seeking behaviors:

  • Load up that backpack! Depending upon the size of your child, you can place toys or books or anything else that provides some weight to the backpack.
  • Use that laundry basket! Put books, toys, or even a younger child in the basket (adult supervision is required) and have your child push that basket around.
  • Throw your couch cushions & pillows on the floor. Children naturally like to climb, so give them a mountain! They can move them, pull them, stack them, and then enjoy the fun of climbing or crawling over the top of them.
  • Play tug-o-war. I suggest doing this on the floor as it’s safer and can provide the right amount of resistance.
  • Blanket rides! this is one of our all time favorites at our clinic. Place a blanket on the floor, load it up with toys/books (or another child) and have your child pull the blanket around the house.
  • Magic carpet rides. These are very similar to the blanket rides, but the child sits on the blanket and pulls himself, using a rope (jump ropes will work), across the room.
  • Animal walks. Have your child demonstrate different animal walks(bear, giraffe, crab, penguin, etc.).
  • Eating. Foods can be very organizing for children. Typically the chewier and/or crunchier the better. Bagels, apples, granola bars – you get the idea.
  • Drinking. Drinking smoothies, applesauce, pudding through a straw can provide some great exercise for your child’s mouth and can be calming to the sensory system.

Generally speaking, although these do not work for everyone, activities that provide input/resistance to your muscles are very organizing and can aid in calming. Find out what works for your child and build it into your day. Chances are, your child is probably already looking for these types of activities – we just need to make sure he/she implements them in a safe way.

By the way, my daughter is a teenager now, she’s actively involved in competitive dance and swimming (see the connection?). Her favorite “down time” activity is reading and she is very creative.

What are some of the ways you help to organize your sensory-seeking child?

The information provided here is not meant to replace therapy or provide medical care. The topics covered in this blog are ideas and suggestions to help you discover ways to meet your child needs.

185 S. Marley Rd. New Lenox, IL 60451