It’s the first day of school for my son, who is entering Pre-K at his new big boy school. He woke me up this morning and asked if it was “morning time, yet?” After he learned it was o.k. to get up he eagerly yelled back, “good, because I don’t want to miss my bus!” (He’s been waiting to ride the bus with his big sister for several years, now.) By the time I got into his room he was halfway dressed in his plaid shorts and t-shirt, not exactly what I had in mind for his first day of school, given I had two outfits ready for him to choose from hanging on his closet door. It was hard for me, but I had to let it go. He was excited and feeling good about what he had chosen, and he had gotten dressed in record time.
It is important to give our children a sense of control or the ability to make choices (within our parameters). This is especially important for a child with sensory defensiveness as he so often feels out of control with the bombardment of incoming sensory stimuli. Throughout the day, and especially during challenging times for him (getting dressed, eating dinner, etc.), give him two options to choose from (both of which you’re o.k. with). If you’re trying to convince your child to brush his teeth, ask him, “should I sing the ABC song or count to 30 while you brush?” Often you’ll find he’ll respond, “count to 50!” and he’ll immediately begin brushing! It’s not what you had in mind, but it works!
Michelle Yoder, OTR/L