fbpx
The Parenting Cipher Logo
LOG INJOIN
June 24, 2024

10 Powerful Strategies to Manage Sensory Seeking Behaviour

sensory seeking behaviour

1. Introduction

Think sensory seeking behaviour is just about kids being hyperactive? Think again! Many people believe sensory seeking is simply a matter of children having too much energy or acting out. But there's so much more to it than meets the eye. Understanding sensory seeking behaviour can help you support your child in ways that make a real difference.

 Brief Overview

So, what exactly is sensory seeking behaviour? It's when kids actively seek out intense sensory experiences. They might love the feeling of spinning, crashing into things, or making loud noises. This isn't just random behaviour—it's their way of satisfying a need for sensory input.

Understanding why your child engages in these activities can be a game-changer. By getting a handle on sensory seeking, you can help your child feel more comfortable and balanced in their environment.

 Purpose

Our goal with this blog is simple: to give you practical strategies for managing sensory seeking behaviour in children. Whether your child is constantly jumping off furniture or can't get enough of rough play, we've got tips and tricks to help you create a more harmonious home life.

2. Understanding Sensory Seeking Behaviour

 

Definition: What is Sensory Seeking?

Sensory seeking is a type of sensory processing issue where kids crave more sensory input than others. Imagine feeling like your body needs to experience more touch, sound, or movement just to feel okay. That's what sensory seeking kids go through every day. It's not that they're being naughty or hyperactive—they're just trying to meet their sensory needs.

Common Traits

Kids who are sensory seekers often display a variety of behaviours. You might notice them:

  • Spinning around and around without getting dizzy.
  • Crashing into furniture or people.
  • Enjoying rough play and tight hugs.
  • Making loud noises or being drawn to loud environments.
  • Constantly touching objects and people.

These behaviours are all ways to get the sensory input they crave. Recognizing these traits can help you understand and respond to their needs better.

 Causes

What causes sensory seeking behaviour? It often ties back to the way their brains process sensory information. For some kids, their nervous system needs more input to reach a level where they feel comfortable and engaged. This can be linked to conditions like sensory processing disorder (SPD) or autism, but it can also occur on its own.

Understanding that there's a neurological basis for these behaviours can help you approach them with more empathy and effective strategies. It's not about changing your child—it's about helping them navigate their world in a way that works for them.

3. Sensory Seeking and Related Conditions

A lot of people think sensory seeking is just a quirky behaviour, but it's often linked to a deeper issue known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). SPD affects how the brain interprets sensory information. For kids with SPD, their brains might not get enough sensory input, leading them to seek out more intense experiences to feel balanced.

In essence, sensory seeking isn't just random hyperactivity. It's a response to their sensory processing needs. Recognizing this can help you better support your child by addressing their specific sensory needs.

Sensory Seeking in Autism

Another common misconception is that sensory seeking only occurs in children with SPD. However, it’s also prevalent in kids with autism. Sensory seeking behaviour in children with autism is their way of interacting with the world. They might crave sensory input to help regulate their emotions and stay engaged.

For example, a child with autism might enjoy spinning or making repetitive sounds. These actions can help them manage their sensory processing in a way that feels comforting. Understanding this connection can guide you in providing the right sensory experiences that help them thrive.

4. Effective Strategies for Managing Sensory Seeking Behaviour

A sensory diet isn't about food. It's a personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a child needs throughout the day. Think of it as a balanced diet of sensory experiences. By integrating these activities into their routine, you can help your child feel more regulated and focused.

Here are some sensory diet ideas:

  • Heavy work activities: Pushing, pulling, or lifting heavy objects can provide deep pressure input. Activities like carrying groceries or pushing a weighted cart can be beneficial.
  • Movement breaks: Incorporate activities like jumping on a trampoline, swinging, or running to provide the necessary movement input.
  • Calming activities: Use deep pressure techniques like weighted blankets or tight hugs to help calm and soothe.

 Sensory Activities: Fun Ways to Meet Sensory Needs

Providing the right sensory activities can make a big difference in managing sensory seeking behaviour. Here are some of the best sensory activities for sensory seeking kids:

  • Messy play: Activities like playing with slime, mud, or shaving cream can be highly satisfying for sensory seekers.
  • Water play: Splashing in a pool, playing with water tables, or even taking long baths can provide soothing sensory input.
  • Sound and light activities: Musical instruments, singing, and light shows can help meet their auditory and visual sensory needs.

By incorporating these sensory play ideas for sensory seeking children into their daily routine, you can help them get the input they need in a fun and engaging way.

 Sensory Tools: Must-Haves for Every Parent

There are many sensory tools available that can help manage sensory seeking behaviour. These tools can provide the necessary input and help your child feel more comfortable. Here are some must-have sensory tools for children with sensory seeking behaviour:

  • Fidget toys: These can help with focus and provide tactile input.
  • Sensory swings: Great for vestibular input, which can help with balance and coordination.
  • Weighted blankets: Provide deep pressure input, helping to calm and soothe.

Using these tools effectively can create a sensory-friendly environment that meets your child's needs. Investing in sensory-friendly toys and incorporating them into your child's routine can make a significant difference in managing sensory seeking behaviours.

5. Creating a Sensory-Friendly Environment

One common misconception is that creating a sensory-friendly home requires a lot of expensive equipment and space. However, that's not true! You can make your home more accommodating to a sensory-seeking child with simple, cost-effective changes.

Here are some tips for creating a sensory-friendly home environment:

  • Quiet spaces: Designate a quiet area where your child can retreat to when they need to calm down. This space can include soft pillows, blankets, and noise-canceling headphones.
  • Texture zones: Incorporate a variety of textures throughout your home. Use rugs, textured wall hangings, and tactile toys to provide sensory input.
  • Lighting: Use dimmable lights or sensory lamps to control the lighting. Avoid harsh, bright lights which can be overwhelming.
  • Organized chaos: While sensory seekers often thrive in environments with a lot of stimuli, having organized areas where they can access different sensory activities helps keep things structured.

These small adjustments can make a big difference in helping your child feel more comfortable and supported at home.

Sensory Room Ideas: How to Set Up a Dedicated Sensory Space

Some people think you need a whole room to create a sensory space, but even a small corner can work wonders. Setting up a dedicated sensory space doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Here are some sensory room ideas:

  • Comfort corner: Create a cozy corner with bean bags, soft cushions, and blankets where your child can relax.
  • Sensory bins: Use bins filled with rice, beans, or sand for tactile exploration. These are great for sensory play and can be easily stored when not in use.
  • Swing or hammock: If you have the space, installing a sensory swing or hammock can provide much-needed vestibular input.
  • Visual stimulation: Use string lights, lava lamps, or projectors to create a calming visual environment.

By setting up these simple sensory-friendly strategies, you can provide a safe and engaging space for your child to explore and fulfill their sensory needs.

6. Tips for Parents

A lot of parents feel frustrated and overwhelmed when dealing with sensory seeking kids. It's important to understand that your child's behaviours are not intentional mischief. They are trying to meet their sensory needs in the best way they know how.

Here are some tips for parents dealing with sensory seeking kids:

  • Stay calm: Your reaction can either escalate or de-escalate a situation. Staying calm helps your child feel secure.
  • Observe and learn: Pay attention to what sensory inputs your child is seeking. Understanding their patterns can help you provide the right activities and tools.
  • Be patient: Changes won’t happen overnight. Give your child time to adjust to new strategies and routines.

 Professional Help: When and How to Seek Advice

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, managing sensory seeking behaviour can be challenging. Seeking professional help can provide you with additional strategies and support.

Here’s when and how to seek professional advice:

  • Recognizing the need: If your child’s sensory seeking behaviour significantly interferes with daily life, it might be time to consult a professional.
  • Finding the right therapist: Look for an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory processing issues. They can offer personalized sensory integration therapy.
  • Working together: Collaborate with your child’s therapist to create a consistent approach at home and in therapy sessions.

FAQs

 

1. What is sensory seeking behaviour?

Sensory seeking behaviour is when kids actively seek out intense sensory experiences to satisfy their sensory needs. They might love spinning, crashing into things, or making loud noises because their brains need more sensory input to feel balanced.

2. How is sensory seeking related to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Sensory seeking behaviour is often linked to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Kids with SPD may not get enough sensory input, leading them to seek out more intense experiences to feel regulated. It's a way their brain tries to balance sensory input.

3. Is sensory seeking behaviour common in children with autism?

Yes, sensory seeking behaviour is common in children with autism. They often crave sensory input to help regulate their emotions and stay engaged. Activities like spinning or making repetitive sounds can be comforting and help them manage sensory processing.

4. What is a sensory diet?

A sensory diet is a personalized plan that provides the sensory input a child needs throughout the day. It includes activities like heavy work (pushing, pulling), movement breaks (jumping, swinging), and calming activities (weighted blankets) to help them feel regulated and focused.

5. What are some effective sensory activities for sensory seeking kids?

Some effective sensory activities include:

  • Messy play with slime, mud, or shaving cream.
  • Water play with pools, water tables, or baths.
  • Sound and light activities like playing musical instruments, singing, or using light shows.

These activities help meet their sensory needs in a fun and engaging way.

6. How can I create a sensory-friendly home environment?

Creating a sensory-friendly home environment doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Here are some tips:

  • Designate a quiet space with soft pillows and noise-canceling headphones.
  • Incorporate a variety of textures with rugs and tactile toys.
  • Use dimmable lights or sensory lamps to control lighting.
  • Organize areas with different sensory activities.

These adjustments can help your child feel more comfortable and supported at home.

7. What are some ideas for setting up a sensory room?

You don’t need a whole room; even a small corner can work. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a comfort corner with bean bags and soft cushions.
  • Use sensory bins filled with rice, beans, or sand for tactile play.
  • Install a sensory swing or hammock for vestibular input.
  • Add visual stimulation with string lights, lava lamps, or projectors.

These simple setups can provide a safe space for sensory exploration.

8. How can parents support sensory seeking kids?

Parents can support sensory seeking kids by:

  • Staying calm to help their child feel secure.
  • Observing and learning their child's sensory patterns.
  • Being patient and giving time for new strategies to work.

Understanding and patience go a long way in supporting your child’s sensory needs.

9. When should I seek professional help for my child’s sensory seeking behaviour?

You should seek professional help if your child’s sensory seeking behaviour significantly interferes with daily life. Look for an occupational therapist specializing in sensory processing issues. They can offer personalized sensory integration therapy and additional strategies to help your child.

10. What sensory tools can help manage sensory seeking behaviour?

Some helpful sensory tools include:

  • Fidget toys for tactile input.
  • Sensory swings for vestibular input.
  • Weighted blankets for deep pressure input.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Parenting Cipher Logo

Copyright © 2023 The Parenting Cipher – All Rights Reserved. Designed by Arising Co.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram