Inside you’ll find: Why kids might resist doing sensory activities and what you can do to make sensory input painless for you both.
Don’t you hate it when you know what your child needs, what’s good for them, but they dig in their heels and refuse?
It can be so disheartening to see a child, who desperately needs sensory input, resist all your attempts to do sensory activities.
Why don’t they do sensory activities when they’re seekers and should be craving it? And how on earth do you get an avoider to do sensory activities???
Scroll to the bottom for a VIDEO I recorded about this topic!
Why Kids Resist Sensory Activities
Kids who struggle with over responsiveness to sensory input are called avoiders. The stimulus is overwhelming to their brain so they try and avoid it. It’s pretty obvious why avoiders dislike certain sensory activities.
But what about seekers? If they crave input, why do they refuse? Often times, it’s a control issue. Their world feels so out of control, that they grasp at any chance to how power over what happens to them.
Remember, kids can be be avoiders AND seekers!
This is the biggest mistake I see sensory parents make and one of the reasons sensory behavior baffles most folks. Read this article to clear up the confusion!
Sensory activities must first and foremost be FUN! The goal is to make the activity irresistible, especially for avoiders. Sensory bins are so inviting and can help a child forget their fears for a moment and realize that those textures aren’t so bad after all.
Sensory activities should never be forced. Ever. Enjoyment of them is a key factor in their effectiveness.
While you should never force a child to do a sensory activity they hate, you can be sneaky about it. Your child doesn’t need to know that the pillow fight you initiated is really your way of getting some extra proprioceptive input in for the day! (Check out these ideas for turning your furniture into sensory toys and equipment!)
Kids who are struggling with your for control need choices. Give your child some options when it comes to sensory play! Our favorite way of doing this is using these sensory activity printable cards.
Just put them on a key ring and let them pick a favorite, or turn it into a card game where each card they pick is a new sensory activity for them to perform.
Kids don’t want to feel like a project. And older kids are quick to pick up on hypocrisy.
That’s why it’s so important to be willing to participate in sensory activities WITH your kids!
Demonstrate the sensory activity for your child. Or turn it into a competition between the two of you (race, time it, see who can do the most repetitions, etc.)
Modeling is critical when a child is in the middle of a meltdown.
They’ll be resisting you out of a fight or flight response, but you can start modeling calming breathes or rocking in a chair. You need to lead them way during these intense times.
This can be a struggle for all of us. When we get in a rut, doing the same activities over and over, a lot of the fun factor is lost.
So if something that used to work isn’t any longer, it’s time to get some fresh ideas!
Have more questions??? Check out this wildly popular series of Sensory FAQs and become a more confident sensory parent today!
Don’t miss my Facebook Chat with other sensory parents about Kids Refusing to do Sensory Activities! Play the video below!