You Know You're A Sensory Parent When.....





Parenting is a journey that is filled with ups, downs and challenges too. Every parent has their own style of raising their children and they are doing the best they can. There are many of us parents who identify ourselves as 'sensory parents'. If you're a parent who falls into this category, you'll definitely relate to the list below when I asked over 100 sensory parents. 

Being a sensory parent is not easy but it's a role that comes with a lot of love and dedication for your child. 

You're always looking out for your child and making sure that their sensory needs are being met. Your child may not always be able to express their gratitude, but know that your efforts as a sensory parent are making a huge difference in their life. 



You always carry sensory tools with you
Whether it's a fidget toy, a weighted blanket, or a noise-cancelling headphone, you always have some sort of sensory tool with you. You understand that your child may need these tools to regulate their emotions and stay calm in overwhelming situations. You're always prepared for any sensory meltdown or overload.

You're constantly on the lookout for sensory-friendly activities
As a sensory parent, you know that traditional activities may not always work for your child. You're always looking for new and creative ways to engage your child's senses. Whether it's a sensory bin filled with different textures or a nature walk to explore different smells and sounds, you're always seeking out activities that will stimulate your child's senses.

You're an expert at creating sensory friendly spaces
You know the importance of creating a safe and calming environment for your child. You've mastered the art of setting up a sensory-friendly space at home, with dim lighting, soft textures, and calming scents. You also make sure that your child's school or daycare is aware of their sensory needs and have a similar environment set up for them.

You're constantly advocating for your child's sensory needs
You know that not everyone understands your child's sensory needs, and you're always ready to educate others. You advocate for your child's needs at school, with family members, and even in public places. You're not afraid to speak up and make sure that your child's sensory needs are met.

As a sensory parent, you've spent a lot of time observing and understanding your child's sensory needs. You know which environments can cause sensory overload for your child and you try your best to avoid them. You also know what sensory activities or tools can help your child regulate their senses and keep them calm. You're constantly learning about sensory processing disorder. As a sensory parent, you're always learning about sensory processing disorder and how it affects your child. 



I asked over 100 sensory parents and this is what they said ...


1. Your child licks EVERYTHING.


2. You make five different things hoping your child eats something.


3. You have 10 pairs of socks to throw at your child each morning... hoping that one pair will "feel right."


4. Your child tells you to be quiet or turn off the radio or TV, but he speaks so loud you consider buying headphones for yourself.


5. You have an indoor swing and trampoline.


6. You suddenly develop sensory issues yourself... from spending a lot of time with your kid.


7. You cut EVERY tag out of EVERY product your children have, immediately!


8. You have to bring food with you everywhere you go because you know he won't/can't eat other foods.


9. You walk into a public restroom and pray to God nobody flushes in the stall next to you.


10. You read all of these and think, "Yup - that's us, too.  Glad we're not the only ones!"


16. You actually question if pants are really that necessary for school. (Only for a moment of course)


17. You send your child to school wearing a Halloween costume because that is all that they will wear. 


18. Your child's behaviour in the local pharmacy makes you want to smack (not your child) self-righteous old ladies standing in the queue ahead of you!


19. When you become a hermit because leaving the house results in major meltdowns! 


20. You carry post-it notes in your purse to cover the "auto-sensor" flushing toilets.


21. When your kids cover their ears at everything loud but wanna ride the vacuum and scream over each other or talk loudly.


22. You child cover ears while "Happy Birthday" is sung.


23. You have to consider how soft stuffed animals/blankies/clothes are so that they are "softing" worthy.


24. You have to seriously do research on what toys are most durable because, if not, they will not last 72 hours without getting broken. 


25. You avoid things that would be typically fun, such as birthday parties or events.


26. Your child lies upside down on the bleachers to watch a game.


27. Your child wants you to talk quietly, but he's always yelling.


28. You hope your 3 year old has started talking, has given up her sippy cup& is potty trained by the time she starts kindergarten.


29. You have to check every item of clothing for tags, loose threads and uneven seams.  You need to make sure they're not too tight or too loose and have comfortable fabric, etc.


30. Your child strips down to undies or gets naked as soon as they walk through the door.

31. Your most frequently spoken sentence is "Get that out of your mouth."


32. You take family photos and later you notice your child is licking his sibling's high chair in one.   Then you decide you like that one best – because it looks more real!

33. You get excited that you got your son to actually eat something good.


34. You stop going out to eat at restaurants.


35. You nod in agreement or can smile because as you are reading all these you know you aren't alone.


36. Your kiddo pushes into you hard, but sometimes if someone barely touches her she screams bloody murder.


37. You try explaining sensory issues only to get that blank stare.


38. You know in your heart the things you are doing may seem strange, but they work.


39. The judgment does not matter because you're just doing what is best for your child.


40. You realize eating out with the family means getting takeout.


41. Your bag/purse has more of their stuff in it than your own.


42. You find yourself crying in the bathroom so he doesn't see your hurt for him.


43. You know most of your furniture will not make it out of the house alive.


44. A haircut is a loud and long process that sometimes takes several people to complete.


45. You have to excuse yourself/your child for a sensory meltdown.


46. Parents around you gasp in quiet shock when they see what your child has done, such as finger painting the bathroom mirror with toothpaste.


47. You always have a chewy in your purse... and a back up.


48. Your child touches absolutely EVERYTHING he walks by.


49. You carry multiple shirts because you know the sleeves and neck will be soaked in no time.


50. You get relief out of fidget toys, too.


51. Every morning you wake up to the thought of "Oh no... I have to get them to put on clothes again."


52. You are the entertainment during a church service.


53. Your child sits upside down to watch TV.


54. In any noisy place, you have to go outside 
to calm them down and you may end up doing that a few hundred times before you decide to just leave.


55. You feel like you want to crawl in a hole because your child needs more sensory input than your own nervous system can handle!


56. You tell your child to stop licking you constantly. 


57. Everything you do every day is 10x harder than with non-SPD kids.


58. Your child refuses to shower or bath without having to have shaving cream to put on the walls for them to play with. 


59. You have a talk every morning about what the steps are for the day.


60. You cannot change routine or your child will have a terrible day or week. 


61. You have to watch them every 5 minutes to make sure they are not up to any mischief.


62. You have to give your child a minimum of three choices for shirts to choose from.


63. Your child needs to be squeezed as much as you need them to squeeze you back.


64. You calmly walk through the grocery store while they scream at the top of their lungs, ignoring the stares.


65. You have to warn them when you are turning the blender on. 


66. Your child refuses to wear socks. 


67. It feels like you are against the world.


68. You let your child wear a dirty outfit because they won't wear anything else. 


69. You have to do laundry daily for the only pair of pants or shorts your child will wear. 


70. You buy every color and size of clothing your child agrees to wear. 


71. Your kid has 6 pairs of the same pants because they "work" most mornings without meltdowns about the seams.


72. You are taking your child to the car and people actually think you are abducting them due to the colossal meltdown going on.


73. You get excited because you walk into the store and find the exact same sweats that your child wore every day last year.


74. Every outing makes you just look like a parent that doesn't know how to be a parent...  but if they ONLY KNEW.


75. Your child greets visitors at your door with "Hello, can I smell your hair?"


76. Your child doesn't ever want dirty hands. 


77. Your child covers his ears.


78. You have to lie atop your child to get him to calm down and go to sleep.


79. Your child barely ever sleeps.


80. You have to pack a sensory bag to go to the store.


81. Your child has more shirts that have been chewed through than not.


82. You have to explain how to make a ketchup sandwich the correct way so your two year old will eat it to a babysitter twice your age. 


83. You instinctively put away the socks inside out.


84. You start noticing that other people's kids most likely have sensory problems, but you don't dare say anything.


85.  You struggle to get her to get in the shower because it's too noisy, but then she will stand there in the water for an hour.


86. At the end of the day you say "Another day down and I didn't end up in the nut house myself!"


87. You choose your family activities by the amount of noise, light and congestion that will be present.


88. You have to ask the birthday party attendees to whisper the birthday song to your child.


89. You have to throw away shirts because they look like moths got to them at the collars and sleeves.


90. All of your child's stuffed animals, shirts and blankets are chewed up.


91. You're wiping shaving cream off the ceiling. 


92. Your child comes over to you and takes your hand... sniffs it and then licks it.


93. You panic when the supermarket no longer stocks something.


94. You... yourself... leave the house with two different shoes on because you are so frazzled by the time you leave the house.


95. As soon as music comes on you grab your kid's head to cover his ears.


96. Your kiddo wears noise reduction headphones everywhere he goes.


97. You turn your living room into a sensory gym.


98. The grandparents spend $148 on a weighted blanket so your child will sleep better at night.


99. You can't remember the last time you have eaten, used the restroom or stopped running.


100. You pass your child an ice cube and they tell you it's hot and then blow on it.


101. Your child is five years old and still mostly only eats baby food sweet potatoes.


102. You find yourself saying, "Don't lick the car!" repeatedly in every parking lot.


103. You find yourself often saying "Get back to the table and play with your food."


104. The thought of a farmer's market makes you hyperventilate because there is soooo much to touch and squeeze.


105. Your child uses all of the toilet paper to play with instead of her toys every day.


106. You feel crazy.


107. Your child is spinning in circles as you read this.


108. Your child says the same phrases and words over and over and over, everyday.


109. When you have had to stop reading this a few times and take breaks because your child is climbing on everything.


110. You think in terms like vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, etc. and nobody knows what you're talking about.


106. You feel crazy.


107. Your child is spinning in circles as you read this.


108. Your child says the same phrases and words over and over and over, everyday.


109. When you have had to stop reading this a few times and take breaks because your child is climbing on everything.


110. You think in terms like vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, etc. and nobody knows what you're talking about.


111. You kinda dread holidays because excited quickly turns into screams, tears, hitting, kicking, and shouts of "I hate you!"


112. You spend 10 minutes every morning adjusting and readjusting his socks so they feel right in his shoes.


113. You are very excited to get a picture of your child standing in front of Santa telling him what he wants.


114. When your child sniffs a new roll of toilet paper and states it smells like carrots... then you take a sniff...  and can totally understand what they are saying.


115. Your pets are hiding and you wish you had that luxury sometimes.


116. Your child is crying and screaming when you accidentally turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom.


117. You have quick escape plan for every event you attend.


118. You can move and think like a ninja.


119. You buy cello tape constantly because your child wraps their ankles and legs together.


120. You spend a fortune on socks and jeans that will never be worn.















DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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