Sensory seeker was a term that wasn’t part of my vernacular until my son started going for Occupational Therapy (OT). My son was about 2 1/2 years old when we transitioned him from his crib to a trundle bed. We were expecting our second child and wanted him to have time to see the trundle bed as his sleeping area and the crib as his baby sister’s sleeping area. The transition went well at first, he started sleeping in the trundle bed with no problem.
Then one day, I went into his room and didn’t know what happened to him. He had squeezed his way between the wall and his bed and was sleeping there. To make matters worse, he started squeezing into that cramped space and pushing the trundle out and sleeping under his bed. He is my first child (and my only child at the time) and I worried that he was going to suffocate under there by getting tangled and trapped in his blanket.
We tried preventing him from going under the bed. We told him to stay on his bed when he slept at night – that didn’t work. We placed a yoga mat under the bed and the wheels of the trundle which made it difficult to move both the bed and the trundle – that didn’t work.
Finally I told him that it makes me scared when he goes to sleep under his bed as I worried that he wouldn’t be able to breathe down there. I asked him to please sleep on his bed for me. I had little expectation that my request would work but it did, he never slept under his bed again.
Later when he started going to OT, I learned different things that I could do during the day to give him the deep pressure he was seeking. Here are 3 fun things that your child can do if they are a sensory seeker that seeks out deep pressure:
1. Burrito Wraps – Take a small blanket and lay it on the floor. Have your child lay down about a foot from the edge of the blanket with their head and shoulders above the blanket. Wrap the blanket around their front and let them know that you will gently roll them in the blanket. Then slowly roll them so they are wrapped in the blanket from their shoulders down. If your child does not enjoy this, then stop. My kids loved when I made both of them into burritos. They enjoyed seeing who could get out first and I helped them out if they needed help.
2. Safe hiding places – I didn’t want my son sleeping under the bed at night but there were safe places that he could squeeze into during the day. He went between the ottoman and the couch or between the couch and the wall. We also had a small toddler cube with a slide that he enjoyed climbing into.
3. Obstacle course – My son loves to crash so I set up a simple obstacle course. The last thing to do in the course was to crash or fall into a large bean bag. We did this on playdates as all the kids enjoyed doing this activity..
Disclaimer: I am not an Occupational Therapist (OT), I am a Mom. Please seek advice from your child’s OT for specific recommendations for your child.
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