Sensory Overload: Halloween tips for the Sensitive Child
Parties, special events, and trick or treating maybe fun for some… but for some of our children it can be scary, loud, noisy and downright painful! EEK!
Tips for handling the overload:
· Allow your child to help pick out the costume and have them try it on to make sure it is not too itchy, scratchy, or ticklish. For some, try to avoid make-up or face painting. Consider making simple costumes from basic pieces your child already has and adding props to form the costume.
· Make sure to pick events that will fit your child’s sensory personality. Choose quieter events, more structured events, or have your own small party.
· Trick or treating maybe good for some- lots of walking/running outside and carrying a heavy bag of goodies. For others, trick or treating maybe over stimulating. Consider going trick or treating a bit earlier before the major crowds hit and just go for a shorter amount of time.
· For those more sensitive to sugar, artificial coloring or dyes, gluten, and dairy, be sure to have other treats such as small toys, stickers or pencils that can be purchased at a local dollar store or online from places like oriental trading company. Also, alternative snacks and candy can be purchased at health food stores.
· As always prepare your child for special events or changes in schedule, as changes in routine can often be a source of stress. Incorporate extra heavy work activities before parties such as running, climbing, helping vacuum, pushing or pulling laundry filled baskets or bags, wall pushups, etc. Also use calming deep pressure touch such as massage, tight hugs or squeezes, or putting your child in a pillow sandwich or rolling him/her up in a blanket. During parties, have a safe space or an exit strategy if things get too overwhelming.