Waking my "Tactile Defensiveness" child

by Kim
(Avon, IN)

My daughter has trouble waking up in the morning. She does not want to wake up. I've read it takes these SI kiddos longer to get all their senses in order in the morning. Does anyone have any ideas about how to wake my daughter up so there isn't a blow up every morning or me getting to work late. There are times it takes her an hour to wake up and put her clothes on. We do lay her clothes out the night before, but on some mornings those clothes don't feel right. She won't get out of bed without a standoff...any help would be great!!

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Nov 02, 2012
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Morning Story
by: Suzi Hansborough

I saw a suggestion for this a couple of months ago to help get "reading time" in with a child, and I tried it a couple of mornings ago with my daughter to see if we could avoid the morning battle: I picked a story I know she likes and just snuggled down beside her and started reading aloud. I used very animated voices and said stuff like"well, doesn't that look silly? Look at what Tinker Bell is doing." Since I had the book turned slightly away from her, she started to get curious pretty quickly. Then she was asking if she could see, too. By the time we were done, she was fully awake...and just hopped right up & got ready for school. We still had the battle over socks, etc--but reading worked like a charm to get her rolling. Good luck.

Nov 26, 2009
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What to do next?
by: Angie

I have a 5 year old daughter and we have a really tough time in the morning. We have put in her the van with just her underwear on and when we took off she opened the door! She has been late for school quite a bit this year and we don't know what to do. We are just starting Occupational Therapy. Hopefully we can get some suggestions. However, there is a 2 month waiting list. I am trying to find some information in between time. We just don't know what else to do when she is putting herself in danger by opening the van door. She always finds a way to shut us all down. Then about a half an hour later she
calms down and acts like nothing even happened.

Aug 24, 2009
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waking up
by: Whitney

I know each child is different but this is what works for our family and has made our morning better. We give her deep squeezes to wake her up. My other children I always touched gentle but Mag can't handle light touch. I give firm squeeze on arms and legs and tight hug. She likes a back pack ride down stairs(good thing she is a 50lb 8 year old)I will make her do the squeezing to stay on my back, I only steady her if needed. This is good deep pressure for her. She eats breakfast or a few bites depending on the morning. Then she will go and get dressed.

We have tried to lay out and like you said it works some but not very often. I try to have her "safety" or favorite clothes clean so if needed it is there. Same with socks and shoes. The older she has gotten the easier it is. She wants to overcome it so sometimes she will talk herself through it.

We still have our bad mornings but we are not having the severe meltdowns. I have come to realize that she will not be the most fashionable dressed but she does like to look nice, if she has to wear same thing over and over during a rough time I try to keep it clean. I pray that you can find something to work for your little one. I feel your pain and frustration.

Aug 22, 2009
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Morning's
by: Alisa

My 4 year old son also has plenty of bad or slow morning. We encourage/entice him never bribe. We first just say it's time to wake up a fue time leaving about 5 mins between each time we tell him. We always uses happy positive tones almost excited so he mores likely to want to get out of bed. If he gets angry with me I just tell him I know you find it hard to wake up but if you dont get out of bed how will go to the kindy if we are late you'll have to go in what your wearing. He's knows he will go to kindy in mo shoes or PJ's if he's not ready.

He tested this out a few times and went to kindy with out shoes, I take them with me and simply put them on the ground at kindy and tell the teacher he refused to put them and say goodbye and leave. He gets no positive reinforcement from me I try to stay firm with out being angry. I had to bye my son a special bowl that allows him to eat at kindy cause he will refuse to eat most mornings. I dont engage in any debating with him I just clearly tell him what he has to do and what will happen if he does not do it.

When I say entice and not bribe I mean I tell him about things that are happening once he's ready or at kindy. It may be a cereal that my kids only get when they are well behaved or activity he loves to do at kindy. I never bribe with anything I out of our normal routine. I stick to the rules of the house never giving him the special cereal if he's not ready on time. Never say I'll bye you ...... if you get ready.

Stability in predictable outcomes are very soothing to most children including sensory children. Most of all try to reduce any unnecessary sensory input. If they dont like loud noise try to keep things guiet. If they dont like certain clothes dont expect them to wear them find clothes they like but try to debate clothes try to make sure you prepare the clothes you know they like.

Dont argue with the child, if you have to just take the clothes and the child to where ever and once your there tell the child care center/kindy/school they refused to get ready and heres there things. The child will eventually if not quickly learn its nicer to be ready before leaving home. Dont be afraid to teach your child natural consequence. Its better than yelling or getting upset with them.

Apr 29, 2011
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I've used a firm tickle
by: Anonymous

We just received our diagnosis of tactile defensiveness but for years my 9 yr old son has hated to get up in the morning. When he was a toddler I started doing a firm tickle on his back and say "Its wakey wakey time!" Not loud just real gentle at first and you gradually make it a louder. He's really sensitive to sound so with this technique that I've used before even finding out that he has tactile defensiveness was right on the money. It was so much easier to start the day with giggles and smiles instead of the crying. His CBH therapist says that its important to problem solve even if as parents we don't understand exactly what is going on or why. The goal is to find ways to allow him to decrease his anxiety so that we can then work with him on finding his own coping skills. I've found over the past 9 months that its not about who I want to be as a parent or what we perceive his actions as, but being the parent and support that my son needs in order to successfully process the sensory input in the world.

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