Children are creatures of habit, often finding a source of comfort in a favourite teddy bear or even a customized blanket. While some children do not need this, some who might battle with sensory overload, or even just dislike crowded spaces and being among strangers, would battle to calm themselves in certain situations. What can we, as parents, do to manage this and help our children?
A trip to Legoland or a theme park sounds like a fun outing, and while it can be, it can often be an overwhelming event for a child.
Mothers are told that their children need to sleep a certain amount of hours per night, eat certain foods, as well as be able to self-soothe when they are tired or overwhelmed. This, however, is not always possible, as some children might have difficulty in soothing themselves. Having a comfort item, such as a soft toy, a special action figure or a customized blanket, can help diffuse a stressful situation quickly and easily.
With a range of options to look at, you are able to customize almost anything these days, and blankets are no different. You can opt to have your child’s name on it, a favourite character, different textures and materials, as well as ribbons, bells and baubles for the child to feel and touch to soothe themselves.
When going to a theme park, for example, we often want to take as little as possible, but we forget children need their comfort item just as much as they need a cuddle from Mom or Dad, or a snack or juice when they are hungry or thirsty. Allowing them to take their blanket could mean the difference between a fun day and a chaotic one for both parent and child. They can feel secure and comfortable in a possibly overwhelming environment.
There are, of course, other ways in which you could prepare for an outing, such as by looking at the following tips:
If you are going to a theme park or a large play area, try to find out on which days the attendance is generally lower and plan your outing for that day.
Prepare for each ride or event. Explain each one to your child and allow them to prepare for what is coming.
If crowds of people and the accompanying sounds easily overwhelmed your child, allow them to wear earbuds or noise cancelling headphones.
Sensory overload is not the easiest thing to deal with, but by allowing your child to select an item that makes them feel safe, you can avoid any meltdowns that may occur in busy places. As adults, we can simply avoid areas we do not want to visit, but for children, it is not as easy. By preparing them as much as you can about what is coming, and providing them with their safety object, you make them feel safe and comfortable, creating a better experience for all.