Daily Shoe Meltdowns
My 4 year old boy has a huge uncontrollable meltdown over his shoes every morning when I try to put them on. He had velcro shoes which were too loose no matter how hard I pulled. I got him tie shoes but even if I pull them amazingly tight he still freaks out that they are too loose or then sometimes too tight. He can't make up his mind. The meltdown often continues out the door and in the car, screaming about his shoes.
At daycare we drop off his little brother in the baby room and he has to take off his shoes there, and we go through it all over again. My husband is calling it a nightmare.
Any thoughts how we can improve this ?
Ah, the old shoe meltdown... very common indeed! Sorry you guys are going through this!
Suggestions? First, I am curious... does he have SPD? Tactile defensiveness? Sensory seeking behaviors? Is it isolated to the shoe issue? Or, are there other tactile or proprioceptive issues?
In the case of shoe meltdown, I would try the following:
Increase proprioceptive input in any way you can. Buying tighter, compression-like socks (spandex/lycra like materials). You can ask him doctor is a "compression sock" is ok for him. How about using ankle weights? Or, maybe high top sneakers? Have you tried any of these?
Use the Wilbarger Deep Pressure Proprioceptive Technique
ONLY IF in OT and shown how to do it by a knowledgeable and trained therapist. If not, you may want to consider getting him hooked up with one if he has other tactile issues. Has this ever been done?
Find tight, hugging shoes... not regular sneakers. Maybe a softer material that hugs the feet better... not leather. For example, there are ones made of more suede like material and have stretchy laces built into the shoes that hug pretty good. You may have to struggle with him in the stores to find a good tight fit that feels comfortable, but it can be done.
Give him some good deep pressure foot massages before putting shoes and socks on. Deep, firm pressure to feet and ankles... use a relaxing scented lotion too if tolerated.
Use vibrating massagers on the feet before putting his shoes and socks on.
Do the seams on his socks bother him? Try turning the socks inside out or get seamless socks.
Increase proprioceptive and heavy work activities
throughout his day, every day to keep him regulated and decrease some of the sensitivity or sensory seeking behaviors.