If you’re like me, your bedroom is your haven, a place where you feel safe enough to rest and escape the overwhelm of life. Home to treasured possessions, decorated in your own style and full of creature comforts, your room is the one place where you can just ‘be’.
It’s no different for our kids. I know my kids love spending time in their rooms to grab some alone time, enjoy their interests and regroup after a busy day. So, it makes sense to create a sensory friendly space for those times when they’re overwhelmed by the world around them.
Sensory friendly means taking into account your child’s sensory preferences and incorporating these into their room. Your child may seek certain sensory inputs and they may avoid others. For instance, you may have a child who has to touch everything or your child may get upset with loud and unexpected sounds. These behaviours indicate your child may need more tactile input and less auditory input from the world around them.
Creating a sensory-friendly bedroom for your child will help them feel more calm, centred and controlled. It will give them the sensory experiences they crave while protecting them from those that overwhelm them. Most importantly, it will make their room feel even safer and welcoming – a true haven.
How to Create a Sensory Friendly Bedroom for Your Child
First, you need to analyse your child’s sensory needs. Have a think about their common behaviours and try to find patterns. Could there be a sensory reason behind their behaviour? For instance, does your child like climbing and rough play? They could have an under-sensitive proprioceptive system and need extra stimulation to give them the input they need.
Then, you can identify items that can meet your child’s sensory needs. If your child needs more proprioceptive input, you could introduce a weighted toy, vest or blanket into their room to give them extra sensory input. You might find their sensory seeking/avoiding behaviours start to reduce. You might also find your child becomes more content and calm in their room too.
8 Sensory Friendly Ideas for Your Child’s Room
Based on the 8 sensory systems, here are suggestions to make your child’s room more sensory friendly, depending on their individual sensory needs:
Tactile – put together a box of toys with different textures to help your child get the tactile input they crave, like fidget toys, spiky balls, playdoh/putty and squeezie toys.
Auditory – noise cancelling headphones or ear muffs help kids who are sensitive to sound, while shakers, musical instruments, CD players or chimes can be fun for sensory seekers.
Olfactory – incense, essential oils, air fresheners and scented plants provide sensory input, while you can reduce household smells by using non-scented products in the laundry.
Oral – for kids who tend to chew on their clothes or sheets, consider chewy jewellery or chewable pencil toppers to give them the oral stimulation they need.
Visual – sequin cushions, lava lamps, colourful beads and wind spinners can provide visual stimulation while a tent or teepee can give your child a safe place free of visual distraction.
Vestibular – if you have room, set up a swing or hammock to help your child get the motion they need – a spinning stool or office chair for their room will also work well.
Proprioception – weighted blankets, body socks, tunnels and rope ladders can help kids who need to continually climb, engage in rough play or require deep pressure to stay calm.
Interoception – use a clock and routine chart to help your child keep track of when they last ate, went to the toilet or had a drink, to remind them to look out for their internal signals.
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