Since OT Awareness Month is almost over, we thought it would be fun to share some OT sensory strategies for parents to enjoy!
The best way to address your sensory needs as a parent is to:
1. Take an inventory of what activities you find soothing, energizing and regulating. For some parents, taking a bubble bath is relaxing and enjoyable, for others running outside is the most satisfying.
2. Survey your environment – Some adults are aware that noisy environments are draining to their nervous system, while others get energized at parties or concerts.
3. Account for all your senses – smell, visual, sounds, taste, vestibular (motion that affects your knowledge of where your body is in space), proprioception (receptors that let your brain know how much pressure or pulling your joints feel). For example, people who run for regulation are using all their senses during that activity except for taste.
Once you have an inventory of the best sensory activities, use it as a go to list for when you need some “me” time. It should help you feel more centered. Here are some of our favorite activities:
- Listening to music (auditory)
- Touching Velcro or other soothing textures (tactile)
- Wrapping ourselves in a heavy comforter (tactile and proprioceptive)
- Exercising (proprioceptive and vestibular)
- Playing with clay (visual, tactile and proprioceptive)
- Painting (visual, tactile and proprioceptive)
- Cooking (Proprioceptive, visual, scent, tactile and taste)
- Walking on the beach or at a park (proprioceptive, visual, auditory and scent)
For more on this subject, check Winnie Dunn’s book, Living Sensationally Understanding Your Senses.