Traveling to new places can be very exciting for a family. However, a journey outside the home for some children who may seek or avoid stimulation can lead to a stressful situation for both the parent and the child. You know your child and potential triggers that might be a concern. Providing your child with the ability to handle sensory issues will have long term benefits they can use later in life.
What is a Sensory Backpack?
Our teli staff of Developmental Specialists and Occupational Therapists often work with children with Sensory Processing Disorder to provide families with the help their children may need deal with a variety of situations. Understanding when their child be over stimulated by different surroundings outside the home is key.
An important aid for a child is to have a collection of familiar items prepared in a Sensory Backpack that can provide a number of activities and strategies that might calm your child. A range of items unique to your child can help them begin to self-regulate in the situations in which they feel uncomfortable.
What goes into a Sensory Backpack?
The contents of your child’s Sensory Backpack is dependent on your child’s specific needs. If your child is very sensitive to loud noises, noise cancelling headphones might be warranted. If you anticipate a long journey in the car and your child has difficulty sitting still, playing his favorite music on a mobile device may be just the answer.
The location you will be visiting may also help you to include some items that might be helpful to engage your child to focus on an activity along the way. Free concerts in the park can be a great family event, but the crowd and the noise may be overwhelming for children and adults alike. You might bring a book about concerts or their favorite outdoor game to help them feel comfortable.
A Sensory Backpack should weigh no more than 5-10% of a child’s body weight, so it is easy for them to carry and have close at hand. The following table our teli staff provides some suggestions based on the sensitivities of your child.
A sensory travel kit is just one way to help your child handle sensory overload. There are plenty of other strategies that can be helpful. Teli’s article Avoid Meltdowns on Your Next Outing with Your Child offers suggestions on how to prepare for a trip and manage potential meltdowns along the way.