Advice for getting my son dressed

by MB
(Colorado)

I'm looking for some advice and help with my 4 1/2 year old son. I'm convinced he has sensory processing disorder and mainly as it pertains to tactile. I'm going to get him some assistance and hopefully work with OT to make his journey easier but I'm at my wits end currently.


It takes over an hour to get him dressed for the day or for bed. He constantly is saying his clothes hurt him and "feel like sand". It is impacting him and his ability to enjoy life, as well as his two older siblings because we can't do things like go to the park. Does anyone have advice and/or tricks for dealing with this and how to find things to get him dressed easier? I buy soft clothes, cut tags, seamless socks, etc. and nothing works. HELP! I appreciate it.

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Dec 25, 2012
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si...oh my!
by: Anonymous

my son is 7. he has had si since he was 4. it is always an issue, but he has major flair ups. he wears flip flops year round, and we have cold winters in atlanta! for years he wore no underware, now he wears under armour compression shorts as underware. he will only wear a shirt if he has a tight " wife beater" tank under his shirt. in the summer and spring, i tye dye a lof of " wife beater" tanks and that is all he wears to school. he wears pj botyoms as pants...he has about 4 pair of gap soft short pjs he wears year round. if he has to wear a shirt over his tank, he wears a scarf. it is very hard to get clothes on him. it is very hard! he cries and a lot of the x my husband n i lose our patiencs w him. :( it is a daily struggle. he is very creative and it able to pull off the " creative dressing" at school. most kids think it is just his " style". for some reason the girls like his unique style, but some kids tell him he wears the same clothes daily n he is dirty. :( swimming daily has been the only thing that seems to help. my husband is a pt n has treaed many kids w si ... and nothing seems to " fix it". its just how god made him. hang in there, i feel your pain. xo

Jun 11, 2012
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Breathing slower now...
by: Kristy

We are currently at the beach on vacation and my 8yo dd is insisting to wear her bathing suit bottoms all pulled up in the back and low low low in the front. We just had to tell this SPD kid that there is no way around this one-- she has to fix the suit bottoms so that they are on appropriately...lots of tears-- angry looks and huffing, but she is at the pool right now--she made it! I know this doesn't mean the next go around with clothes will be any easier, but sometimes I feel so anxious for her that my heart races whenever we have to change clothes at all. Can't everyone just walk around in their underwear and super-soft t-shirts and that would be ok? Just kidding for me, but that is what the world would look like if it was up to her...Is there any other updates on kiddos out there with these tactile sensitivities? Would love to see them! It truly is a unique situation for us SPD parents and no matter how hard you try to explain it to anyone, you have to live it to understand it. This post has helped me so much right now- thanks to the original poster!

Apr 22, 2012
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Not Alone
by: Anonymous

I am glad that I am not alone in the battle of the clothes. I appreciate all your comments.

Nov 07, 2011
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Relief
by: Sharlene

Hi.....I felt like only I was going through this every morning with my 5 year old son........every piece of clothing bothers him and we listen to a screaming child every morning......not that I wish others to go thru this but its nice to know your not alone....thanks for all the comments!

Oct 26, 2010
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clothing
by: Colleen

Its so comforting to know how many other moms deal with this! I've never met anyone else who can relate. Routine is key. I wake my son up very gently and he takes a long bath. I always have him pick out his clothes the night before so there's no surprise. Just find what works for your child and stock up! I agree that shoes now are the hardest to find. He likes them to be a size or 2 larger than his size. The same with clothes. Shirts need to be long enough and pants or shorts very baggy. ankle socks do seem to work best. Never rush this type of child or you're asking for a meltdown. like someone else said, if its not life threatening let it go. hope that helps.

Oct 18, 2010
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getting son dressed
by: Lee

I have a 6 year old girl who we have been dealing with behaviours related to senses since birth. Clothes that are comfy, soft inside and out, no tags and usually cotton work best for us. We have not chosen her clothes since age 3.

She does not wear socks summer or winter and has never gotten frost bitten. Limit the amount of options in his closet. We quit going into her room when she is getting dressed. Patience and stressing of using words not tantrums to express ones self.Great improvement in the last 2 years but it has been a journey. Summer to fall winter clothing is by far our most challenging area....If it is not life threatening let it go do not make things a fight that do not need to be.

My thoughts are with you because unless you are living it no really understands what you mean.


Oct 12, 2010
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Clothing Issues
by: Anonymous

My son is nine years old now and we had the exact problem with getting dressed. His OT started him on a sensory "diet". It has nothing to do with food. We brush his body with different texture hair brushes, light sandpaper, velcro, cotton balls, etc. At first he was unbearable. After a few months of doing this every day he is able to wear just about anything with no problems. He does still refuse to wear socks unless they are wrong side out but we no longer have major melt downs over his clothes. Hope this helps you some.

Sep 20, 2010
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what I do
by: Anonymous

I have a 7 year old boy, and have learned what to do over time, but every day is different. What bothers him extremely one day won't the next.

He likes 'husky' levi denim jeans because they're loose. I use lots of fabric softener in the rinse with denim.

Properly fitted Hanes underwear that has the cloth around the waist rather than elastic. Fabric softer again, and washing with the jeans saves additional softener.

Tags off shirts, and 'layered' shirts will cause problems if the sleeves are layered. He may complain about the 'surface' shirt sleeves being tight as they're rolled up so the bottom sleeve shows.

Shoes are a HUGE issue. Vans and sketchers work the best, but make sure he's trying lots of shoes on. if you aren't successful before much time goes by, wait until another day. If you are successful, buy two pairs at once.

With socks, it's usually the socks turned inside out so seams aren't against the toes. Seamless socks are complained about, as being too tight. Ankle socks that are stretchy are the best.

Jun 03, 2010
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from my DD
by: DebbieKinIL

Give your son lots of time to desensitize to his clothes. He may take up to an hour, like I do sometimes, if the clothes don't feel right. If the weather is bad, it can be a very bad clothes day. And if at the early evening, he wants to change into his "comfy" clothes- whatever it maybe - just let him. He may really need to let go after a full day of his clothes bugging him.

From me, Debbie, On school days, I allow 45 minutes for dressing. So that means we get up an hour earlier than most.

I hate to say it, but you may have to start an hour earlier to get your son dressed- until you can find clothes that are comfortable for him.

Let him stretch the clothes or do something that allows him to put them on.

My DD used to sit for 10 minutes stretching and pulling her underwear and clothes. And she must put the clothes on in a certain order. Routine helps and I don't mention clothes or dressing, during the dressing hour. If I do say something about clothes, it just stresses my DD out. The period of transitioning from one type of clothes, into the other is very stressful and her frustration flares up often.

May 31, 2010
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My son's clothing
by: Jessica

I found that my son likes things without seams and will actually prefer the "pull up" type of shorts (sometimes pants too) that you get at Wal-Mart or Kmart. They are a type of "smoothe" fabric that feels, to me, like bed sheets. Anyway - those are his favorite. As for t-shirts - they have to be tagless and about a size bigger than usual. My son's issues are "itchy" things or "loud" sounding fabrics. He also has fine motor skills issues and prefers an elastic waist to buttons and zippers. Hope that helps you. I agree - once you find what works, stock up! -J

May 31, 2010
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help
by: Anonymous

My son actually prefers denim to soft materials. He can't stand fleece or sweat suits! I know that is opposite of what most sensory kids like, but what ever works. When you find something that he likes try to buy it in several colors or similar fabric. We have trouble w/shirts sometimes so I just cut tags and try, sometimes he will wear something and the next he won't it's sort of a guessing game. Also sometimes we have to turn the socks inside out. If you buy the short ones you can't really notice and if it makes him happy who cares anyway! Plus w/it being summer time maybe sandals w/no socks will work.

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