Children need stimulation in order to be engaged, and to interact with the world around them. However, it’s important to make sure that kids also get the opportunity to take stimulation at their own speed, because it’s entirely possible to have sensory overload, which will make them feel anxious and overwhelmed. Whether it’s meeting too many new people at a big gathering, the stress of going to a new school, or just being at an event where there’s too much happening, getting overstimulated is something that can happen in a variety of situations. The important thing to remember is that every child is different, and they’ll have different levels of comfort, and ability to cope with new stimuli. What doesn’t bother one kid at all could be entirely too much for another.
What Are The Signs?
There are several, telltale signs that come with sensory overload that you should keep an eye out for. Some of the most common ones include:
– Lack of focus
– Attempts to blot out the stimuli (covering ears or eyes, turning their face away, etc.)
– Higher sensitivity to things that don’t normally bother them (fabric, noise, etc.)
If you notice your child displaying these signs, it might be time to help unwind them. And for that, they need the same sorts of things adults to; time, and relaxation.
Helping Your Child Cope
There are two strategies you need to keep in mind for sensory overload; what you can do in the moment, and what you can do afterward. Because once you’ve removed your child from the environment, and given them some time to calm down and get their equilibrium back (familiar places and routines are best for this, as they establish normalcy and can act as a kind of life preserver), they should be all right. Sometimes you need an immediate solution, though, which can provide a small escape. Some things that can work for that include:
– Headphones with soothing music (for noise overload)
– A phone or tablet with some simple videos/games (allowing for a quick retreat and distraction away from the situation)
– Sunglasses (for places that are too bright, or where there are too many lights)
More important than these, though, you need to work with your child to teach them the language they need to describe how they’re feeling to you. Clear communication is important in making sure you can help them deal with their overload before it becomes a problem. Lastly, remember, don’t punish your child for sensory overload; that won’t help anything. You need to work with them, even if it seems like a hard journey.
For more methods to help your child cope with the world around them, simply contact us today!