How Children With Sensitivity Issues Can Learn From Games
Allowing your children to learn as they play is extremely important to the learning process, and as a parent, your job is to regulate the play so that it is educational. However, when your kids have sensitivity issues, you have to come up with some creative games that they will enjoy.
Here is a list of things that can help parents with children with sensitivity issues let their kids learn through play.
- It’s not the choice of game that you need to change, but how you approach it.
In order to enjoy playing a game, your child needs to feel safe, comfortable, and open to the experience. Determining what will help your child feel at ease depends on their sensitivity issue.
Shopping for compression clothing for kids is always a good idea if your child is sensitive to touch so that they can focus on the game you intend to play instead of being distracted by uncomfortable clothing. If, for example, you want to teach your child how to play chess because it is an excellent game to learn how to concentrate and think logically, it will be difficult for them to sit still and concentrate on the board in front of them if they are wearing socks with seams that pinch their feet. The solution is not to try another board game that has easier rules and requires less focus because that’s not the issue. The solution is to get seamless socks so that they can concentrate on whatever type of educational board game you want to play with them.
Here’s another example. If you want to teach your child to play softball because it improves eye-and-hand coordination, but your child is sensitive to loud noises, you don’t need to find a less robust game; you need to find a quieter environment. So, for example, play it in a quiet area in the country rather than in a busy city park where people walk dogs that bark at squirrels, where children play boisterously on the monkey bars, and where families gregariously have a great time together at a barbeque party.
- Make games as predictable as possible.
Games often involve lots of spontaneity, which can be disruptive and confusing to a child who finds safety in a smooth transition from one activity to another. So prefer “proprioception” games and activities over those that involve a lot of sudden, unexpected changes. For example, you can make a game out of daily routines, like making a game of setting the table before dinner or make a game of choosing the chapters in the storybook they want to be read to them at bedtime.
- Invent games that make them curious about their own heightened sensitivity.
Be creative in making up game that involves tactile sensory activities. As adults, we barely notice the texture of things because we’ve been so used to how things feel to the touch. When we pet a dog, for example, we either expect the fur to be soft or smooth or rough or tangled. For a child with sensitivity issues, even the touch of a freshly washed apple can be overwhelming. So make a game out of things like describing the feel of play dough, the sand on a beach towel, and get your child to help you with chores, like washing and drying dishes, or prepping the salad.
- Make a game out of trying out different food choices.
Children with sensory issues often dislike trying out new foods. Instead of cajoling them to make an effort or teasing them about being “picky eaters” play a game around taste testing. For instance, ask them to describe the difference between sipping a glass of ordinary water or one with some seltzer. The type of taste-testing you try out needs to be flexible. They shouldn’t have to be required to bite into a new type of food. If they like, they could simply touch or smell it. You can create imaginary scenarios around these taste-testing games. Ask your child to imagine that they have just parked their Mars rocket in the backyard and have come into the kitchen to find out what foods humans like to eat
In closing, don’t just rely on traditional games as educational tools, but invent games, too. One way to make a regular chore into a game is to create role-playing games. Perhaps, your child could pretend to be a famous scientist who is doing some research on rules when playing a board game. Perhaps, when helping you in the kitchen, your child could assume the role of a famous visiting chef who is interested in helping you invent a new type of salad.