Tips for Choosing Sensory Friendly Clothing for Kids
If you are the parent of a child with sensory sensitivities and have managed the meltdowns over itchy tags or stiff shoes, you’re not alone! We know that as a parent, you want your child to be happy and healthy, and when a child is experiencing sensory sensitivities, it can add an extra layer of complexity to your life. Your kiddo can’t simply opt out of wearing clothes! Sensory friendly clothing is becoming more and more common as parents speak up and advocate for the needs of their kids. Let’s dive into the world of sensory friendly clothing, explore the benefits, discover the essential features to look for and empower you to make the best choices for your little one.
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Understanding Sensory Sensitivities in Children
Children with sensory sensitivities experience the world in a distinct way. Everyday sensations that most of us take for granted—like the feel of fabric against the skin, the presence of tags or seams, and even certain textures—can be overwhelming for these children. This can lead to discomfort, anxiety, and even meltdowns. These children have a very low threshold for tactile input, and it takes a sometimes overwhelming amount of cognitive function just to drown out the feelings of discomfort. Yet they are still expected to sit still in a classroom, follow instructions, carry out conversations and pay attention during learning times.
The Benefits of Sensory Friendly Clothing
That’s where sensory friendly clothes come in! By limiting the tactile input that causes discomfort in sensory sensitive kids and reducing sensory overload, we can give them the opportunity to fully participate in their daily activities. Making small changes to minimize the sensations caused by tags, seams and itchy or stiff fabrics can make a world of difference in how kids experience their world.
And we know that when kids feel comfortable in their clothing, their self-confidence and self-esteem receive a boost, positively impacting their social interactions and emotional well-being.
Features to Look for in Sensory Friendly Clothing
Sensory friendly clothing has a few key features that can help minimize sensory overload in kids. Some of the key features are welded seams, soft fabrics, flexible materials, “quiet” clothing (no squeaking, swooshing, crinkling) and breathable materials that don’t trap heat or make kids sweat.
Welded seams, which involve fusing fabrics together instead of stitching them, are a game-changer for sensitive children. Traditional seams can cause irritation and discomfort, but welded seams or seamless designs provide a smooth finish that are far more comfortable for sensory sensitive kids. Instead of itchy thread or bulky fabric, the clothing is soft and easy to move in.
Choosing the right fabric can often make the biggest difference when it comes to sensory friendly clothing. Opt for soft, gentle fabrics that don't trigger skin irritation. Fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, and modal are excellent choices, as they offer both comfort and breathability. Some of our favorite base layers for sensory sensitivities are Taitoa and Lani, and we love the Turkikas fleece as a cozy layering piece.
Other Sensory Considerations
Sometimes the sound or texture of clothing can be overstimulating for sensory sensitive kids. Materials like rubbery rain gear or noisy items like squeaky shoes should be avoided. Reima uses flexible materials in all rain gear and has a selection of waterproof shoes for kids that don’t like the sensation of classic rain boots. For everyday wear, we also offer barefoot shoes. These shoes are thin, flexible and breathable and provide protection from the elements or sensations that may feel unpleasant (like wet grass), but still allow the foot to move freely. Sensory friendly clothing should also keep kids at a comfortable temperature. Consider cozy interior layers that wick away sweat paired with durable outer layers that keep kids protected from wind, rain and snow.
Choosing the Right Sensory Friendly Clothing
When selecting sensory friendly clothing for your child, it's important to consider their individual sensitivities and preferences. Observe how they react to certain textures and materials, and involve them in the decision-making process. Some kids might feel overwhelmed by extra fabric and prefer a snug fit, while others may prefer roomier clothing. Additionally, look for clothing that is easy to put on and remove, as well as items that allow for flexibility and movement.
Sensory Friendly Fashion Trends
Luckily, sensory friendly clothing is becoming more and more widespread as brands recognize the need to create inclusive innovations while maintaining style. At Reima, we want to make your life as a parent easier, which means thinking about the details that matter to kids and parents. We are continuously evolving to create more inclusive styles that meet the needs of sensory sensitive kids.
Maintaining and Caring for Sensory Friendly Clothing
To ensure your sensory friendly clothes lasts as long as possible, be sure to take good care of them. Always follow the care instructions provided by the retailer to maintain the fabric's softness and integrity. Washing in gentle cycles with mild detergents (strong smells can also be a challenge for kids with sensory sensitivities), avoiding fabric softeners, and air drying are recommended practices.
Empower Your Kids with Sensory-Friendly Clothing from Reima
In conclusion, sensory friendly clothing goes beyond addressing physical comfort. Reducing sensory overwhelm empowers children to navigate the world with confidence and ease. Understanding the unique sensory needs of your child and selecting clothing that caters to those needs, makes a positive impact on their daily life (and yours!).
Remember, every child is unique, so finding the perfect sensory friendly clothing might require some experimentation. The ultimate goal is to provide them with a wardrobe that lets their personality shine while keeping them comfortable and confident every step of the way.