Recently my sister has been struggling to get her 3-year-old daughter to wear shoes… and as the days get colder and wetter this can prove to be a real problem, not to mention a huge cause of frustration for both parties involved in the daily battle!
When I received this guest blog post submission on how to get kids to wear shoes I knew it would be a worthwhile one to share (I definitely don’t share every thing I’m sent, only ones that are well researched and add value to you, my readers!!) but the topic of Sensory Processing Issues and Disorder seems like a good one to talk about as not too much is known about the topic, yet it affects far more children, esp toddlers, than we realise…
Children with sensory processing difficulties face many challenges when it comes to choosing clothing and footwear. Parents of children with sensory issues, know all too well the signs and have seen how their children have unusual aversions to light, noise, clothing that is too irritating and shoes that are seen as too tight!
Children with sensory processing difficulties may feel uncomfortable with certain clothing and shoes and they will be picky about the clothing and shoes that can be bought and worn.
The child who is hypersensitive to tactile input may be feeling his sock seams, clothing tags or sleeve cuffs all day long and the constant irritation of clothing tags, seams and waistbands can be very distracting and distressing.
When a child feels physically or emotionally distressed by sensory input, he will not be able to function at his best.
Dressing can be the most difficult and trying time of the day for a child with sensory processing difficulties because they will resist wearing certain material, long sleeves and pants, and they will strip off the offending clothes or shoes as soon as they can.
As adults we know that wearing the wrong pair of shoes can result in a day of misery but when one adds sensory processing difficulties to the mix, then buying the correct pair of shoes can become a near impossibility. When looking for shoes it is all about finding the most comfortable shoe for the wearer.
Here are a few things to consider in the daily battle of how to get kids to wear shoes, especially when dealing with a child with sensory processing disorder:
Understand the problem and acknowledge your child’s feelings.
There will be an emotional response due to the external pressure placed on them and the “perceived pain”
Desensitize the feet and legs.
Give some good deep pressure foot massages before putting shoes and socks on. This will help to calm and override the tactile irritation. Deep, firm pressure to feet and ankles… use a relaxing scented lotion too if tolerated.
It all about comfort.
Does the child prefer a loose fitting or tight fitting shoe? The general rule is to look for a shoe that provides comfort and flexibility (not stiff). Shoes with seam free fabric interiors, such as the Myang range of shoes, with elastic collars and thin flexible soles will be more comfortable. Heel tabs will help with adjusting and fitting the shoe properly around the heel.
Get the right pair of socks
If the seams of socks bother your child, turn them inside out or get seamless socks. This simple change often helps immediately.
Be consistent about shoe rules
Make certain shoe rules for your home such as: “It is not always okay to wear Summer shoes in Winter” or “It’s essential to wear shoes in wet weather or when it’s very cold”
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This guest post on how to get kids to wear shoes was written by Annabella Sequeira from Sensory Intelligence for Mygang. She is a Specialist Facilitator with a qualification in Occupational Therapy