Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tips for a Sensory Smart Halloween

Halloween can be a source of great fun for kids, yet challenging for others. When your child isn't into shrills and chills, Halloween can be a rough holiday. Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder can struggle with all the sights and sounds that Halloween brings. This year you may be able to have a sensory smart Halloween with just a little planning ahead.



Consider trying the following:
  • Forcing a child to wear a costume can be a sure fire way to ruin the holiday. Allowing your child help select a costume, within reason, may be helpful. When choosing a costume, try to find one that does not have lots of accessories to keep track of or items that may aggravate your child's skin. 
  • Wearing a mask or makeup may be unbearable. An alternative may be a mask on a stick, allowing him/her to hold the mask instead or skip it all together. 
  • Layering a costume over a pair of light cotton pajamas may help with the itch factor. It also allows you to remove the costume all together at any time during the night. Not to mention it makes for an easy transition into bed time. 
  • Experimenting with face make-up and costume toleration now may help with the big night. Even if it is a big success, bring baby wipes or a soft wet wash cloth in a Ziploc bag for immediate removal of makeup during the night.
  • Try to avoid sugar overload. As my son trick-or-treats, I have an additional bag to store all of the candy collected. His bucket contains only a few treats that I have brought from home and a light to make the bucket glow. 
  • Sleep deprived children tend to have more sensory meltdowns. Ensure that your child gets their afternoon nap, and ensure that you are home before the normal bedtime. 
  • For a Halloween party, creating an exit plan and social story beforehand are a great idea. It will reduce the stress in the midst of a melt down or detour one altogether.
  • A stroller or wagon are a great escape and source of comfort if your child is overloaded  and enters into the "Meltdown Zone". Having a place for you SPD child to calm may allow for your other children to enjoy the rest of the evening festivities.A well planned sensory bag is always a great idea. Try including the following:

  • Extra clothes. 
  • Noise canceling headphones. 
  • Portable DVD player or other music playing device. 
  • Baby wipes.
  • Flashlight. 
  • Weighted pad or blanket.
  • Sugar free or organic candy to use as a replacement or alternative candy. 
  • Finger Lights or Glow Sticks.
  • Your child's favorite comfort items.
  • Lastly, plan for a Halloween-free night. This could take the form of enjoying a great night in or finding a babysitter, who is willing to care for your sensory challenged child, while you take your other children out for a night of fun. If you are brave and want to attempt a night of fun with more than one child, you may want to solicit an additional adult to join you on your trick-or-treat adventure. This will allow for one of you to take home an over-sensitized child without ruining the night of all your children.

    Regardless of the outcome of the night, try to remember to enjoy the moments. As our kids get older, the magic tends to slowly leave their eyes. Step back from all the stress of life and the world of disabilities, breathe and just enjoy the now.
     
    Do you have any tricks and tips that help you and your family enjoy Halloween? If so, please share in the comments below. Thank you!

    *****
    Bridget is planning for a successful Halloween.


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