What to Include in a Sensory-Friendly Kid's Room
March 22, 2022
by mikkie mills, guest contributor
When your child has specific sensory needs, they may have difficulty participating in daily activities. For these children, it is important for them to have a safe space to decompress from stressful sensory input. It can be beneficial to design their room with their sensory needs in mind. This way, your child's room can be a safe haven from the chaos going on in the rest of the house. Providing them with this environment can help them to safely regulate their emotions, reduce the occurrence of meltdowns, and get back to their regular activities sooner. When designing such a room for your child, there are some things that you want to be sure to consider including.
A hideaway tent is a perfect way for your child to escape unwanted sensory stimuli. In addition to being a great way to block out harsh lights and sounds, a tent gives your child the space to socially distance while they work on self-regulation. Often, when triggered by unwanted sensory input, individuals may need to spend some time alone in order to calm their sensory needs. A personalized, cozy tent provides a safe place to do just that. You may consider including some comfortable items like a rug or pillows made from soft fleece fabric to make this a cozy area for your child to relax.
Bright lights can trigger sensory issues in some individuals. Because of this, it can be helpful to use tinted lights in your child's room to minimize the effect of harsher bulbs. Include your child in the process by having them pick out what color they want their lights to be. It may be a good idea to have one or two lamps that use standard bulbs as well, for visibility purposes. Not only is this a great trick to relieve sensory-related distress, but it can bring out your child's personality with the use of their favorite color.
Being able to block out unwanted sensory input or replace it with input that is wanted can help calm sensory overload much quicker. This is why having a box of items like fidget toys at the ready can be a great tool for your child. Having access to fidgets, earplugs, and comfort items can help your child to regulate their emotions healthily and avoid meltdowns. In addition, to fidget toys, some items you might consider including are a favorite candy, a piece of pleasantly textured fabric, or a sachet with a favorite scent. Your child can use these items to soothe themself when they feel overwhelmed.
White Noise Machine
Having the ability to cover up unwanted noise can be an important tool for your child. A white noise machine gives them the ability to drown out stressful noises from the rest of the house. Some white noise machines even come with settings that imitate noises from the beach, forest, or other parts of nature which can be helpful aids to prompt relaxation in your child. This handy little tool is an essential part of creating a safe, relaxing environment for your child.
Rocking is one of the most primal ways of self-soothing in humans. It helps to process emotions, memories, and other sensory input going on around you. Including a rocking chair in your child's sensory-friendly space can offer many benefits relating to their ability to process. Even rocking in a chair while doing other activities such as reading a book can help to soothe someone who is experiencing emotional or sensory-related distress.
Sensory issues can be difficult to manage, especially considering that the world is made up of so many different sensory experiences (not all of which are pleasant). Providing your little one with a space where they know their sensory needs will be met can offer a huge boost in their functioning. A sensory room doesn't have to just be for kids, either! You may find that you love spending time there just as much as your child does. These kinds of rooms are truly a benefit for the whole family.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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