Children and Oversensitivity to Touch

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Everyone is ready to go on a family outing but your child is writhing on the floor grumbling about the seams and tags in his clothing.  You have already been through everything in the closet.  This is the third time this week. Ugggg!  What to do?

It is time for family haircuts. You are agonizing because you know that your child is about to throw a temper tantrum of epic proportions.

The windows are down in the car to take full advantage of the gorgeous spring day. As you pick up speed, the moaning in the back seat begins. "Can we put up the windows?" your child in the backseat yells out. "The air hurts."

Your child comes downstairs in her favorite pair of sweats. Not a problem usually, but today you are heading to your baby sister's wedding. You encourage your daughter to go back upstairs and put on the clothing lying on her bed. The clothing fight begins once again.

First of all, let me encourage you to have compassion on your child. He really is not lying awake at night to see how he can make your life miserable around these issues. He truly is uncomfortable at best and in pain at worst. These children have heightened tactility sensors. It is important to get to the root cause of the problem and often it just is a matter of stimulating the brain with good input to bring about proper function. How do we do this?

For clothing issues, haircuts, and blowing air you can do the same activities to tell the brain these things are good and not harmful. Get a bath glove (the kind that are a little abrasive) and start very lightly rubbing your child's four limbs - arms and legs, torso, neck, ears, head and feet.

I will warn you that at first it will be torturous to your child. However, the input you are giving the brain should result in the sensory overload normalizing over time. The amount of time is individual to your child.

Problem: Sensory overload to tactility

Solution: Rub lightly with bath glove all over skin and head, twice a day for two to four minutes each time.

For more information on child development and health tips for the whole family, please visit our website:

Julie Meekins

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