Ah winter… Tis the season for getting sick.
Before having kids, I was quite naive about how incredibly exhausting and heartbreaking it can be to have sick kids.
Your kids finally start to share… GERMS!
Plans are canceled.
And if your child has sensory issues on top of it, things can be extra tricky!
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Sickness and Your Sensory Kid
If you’ve suspected your child’s sensory issues are especially heightened when they’re under the weather, you’re not crazy!
Most common illnesses (cold’s, flu, allergies etc) increase the child’s overall inflammation. This inflammation can hamper the nerves from doing their job of relaying sensory information to the brain.
An overly sensitive child (an avoider) might be especially upset by certain input. A child that is under receptive to certain sensory input (a seeker) may be craving sensory input even more than usual.
Remember most kids aren’t just one or the other but a combination of avoiders and seekers. Read more about the most common confusion I see among sensory parents.
Schedules and Rhythms
Most kids with sensory issues struggle with changes to their schedules. Because their sensory world feels out of control, they like to know what to expect and have a say in it.
When your child is feeling sick, try and keep things calm, comfortable, and familiar. Depending on how well they can function, try and follow your usual basic rhythm,
Low Key Sensory Play
If at all possible, you want to continue to help your child get good sensory input, even on the sick days. There are ways to do that without being wild and crazy.
Calm sensory play ideas include sensory bins, play dough (there’s quite a bit of proprioceptive input in this activitiy), yoga, wilbarger brushing protocol, rocking chairs and swings, and animal breathing.
Try and avoid extra screen time as that’s usually a downward spiral. My oldest likes to listen to an audio book while being wrapped up in a weighted blanket. (We LOVE Audible! Try it for FREE today and Get 2 Free Audiobooks)
Of course, be patient! When your kids are sick, you’ve just gotta do what you have to to survive. Do what you can to help your kids get better and you can always make up for lost time!