Getting kiddos who are dealing with tactile sensitivity to wear socks and shoes can be a challenge. It is one that we often work on in OT, as wearing shoes is an important part of dressing and engaging in the environment, especially in winter! So how can we decrease that sensitivity to increase the desire to wear shoes? Check out some tips below:
- Brushing protocol: Talk to your OT about adding brushing into your child’s routine. Make sure to only use a therapeutic brush, and to apply firm, even pressure
- Dry tactile play: Stick those feet in some rice/beans/rocks/etc. Keep it engaging and fun by adding in puzzle pieces or preferred toys.
- Wet tactile play: Paint each others feet with shaving cream, apply lotion to the feet with firm pressure, squish slime with your heels, or make masterpieces with paint and paper!
- Exposure to new tactile input: Have your child walk on grass, stand on a textured Bosu ball, hop around in the dirt, walk over sugar, burry their toes in the sand, or draw letters/shapes in applesauce. Any new tactile experiences will help prime their tactile system to tolerate longer stretches of input (like wearing shoes!)
As always, talk to your OT to make sure you are moving through the different tactile mediums in a way that will make sense to your child’s sensory system. The goal is to make all new exposures to input positive and meaningful!
Dry Tactile Play Bin (Easter Themed)
- Easter Grass/Plastic Grass
- Easter Eggs (can fill with pom-poms or mini erasers)
- Glow in the dark spikey balls
This bin is great for a child who is working on tolerating dry tactile input to their feet. First, have them “hop” like a bunny in the grass. They can then stick their toes in the bin while engaging with the easter eggs. They can even thread the grass through their toes! Singing songs and counting the eggs is another way to add functional communication to your play. Have fun!