Do you have a child with sensory processing disorder?
Have you adopted a child of any age who struggles to keep themselves regulated? (Typically, the more trauma a child experiences in their early years, the more disregulation.)
Even if your child doesn’t have an official label of SPD, they can still experience disregulation, and need parental intervention to regulate their bodies again. Perhaps the words “out-of-sync”, “hyper”, “spacey”, or even “wired” apply to your child at times. If so, try some of these techniques and hopefully you’ll get the results we’ve experienced in our own home.
- Keep them well-hydrated at all times. Sensory kiddos often cannot sense their need for hydration and will remain in a state of semi-dehydration. Keep track of the child’s water intake FOR THEM, and at the slightest sign of disregulation, encourage a long drink of water.
- Offer a high-protein snack or meal every 2 to 3 hours. Not sugar, but PROTEIN. 🙂 Side note: If your child struggles with behaviors at bedtime or first thing in the morning, try a little snack in bed. While I don’t routinely offer food to my children in their beds, I do have one child that needs a snack sometimes in order to settle down. One of my other children used to need a snack BEFORE she was able to get out of bed pleasantly. It is AMAZING the difference a snack is for a child who needs that protein to self-regulate.
- Monitor the bathroom needs of your child. A child with sensory needs can and will often go L-O-N-G periods of time without using the restroom. I have one child who used to go 24 HOURS between potty breaks unless reminded! Naturally, “wild” behaviors would begin as the child could not sit still at this point. I learned to monitor the bathroom needs and began teaching the child to “go” on a schedule.
- Give good sensory input. Each child is different in their need for TOUCH, but a disregulated child often responds well to some sensory input. A firm, long, bear hug, or a back massage (with oils or lotion) can begin to calm a disregulated child.
- Give opportunites for sensory output. Sensory kiddos need to be encouraged to experience SENSORY PLAY! Jumping, running, climbing, and sand play are great outdoor activities, but if you’re stuck inside, try one of the following: chewing gum, Thinking Putty (like silly putty or playdoh), squeeze balls, water play, rice or beans in a bowl with little toys to dig with, crawling, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and hand games.