If you've been researching into sensory play for your child, you may have seen the term "Sensory Seeker" thrown around from time to time. Or maybe you already suspect your child is a sensory seeker and you're trying to find ways to support them. Either way, throughout this blog post we will introduce you to what a sensory seeker is and how you can support them with sensory activities!
Sensory seeking children are known to frequently seek out sensory experiences that pertain to their five senses. Whilst sensory seeking behaviours are able to manifest in a variety of ways, some find that the behaviours can end up being disruptive for others. For example, some children may constantly try to grab/chew on things, whilst others may focus on frequent movement. These behaviours can prove to be extremely challenging and frustrating for parents, which is why it's vital to try and find ways to aid sensory seeking children.
Before we move on to how to support sensory seekers, you may be wondering why these children display these types of behaviours. Sensory experiences can help children regulate their nervous system, improve their focus and concentration and help with cognitive development, and those who are prone to seeking these experiences out are classified as sensory seekers. When displaying these behaviours, it is likely because they are seeking a particular sensation that helps their body feel regulated and calm.
So, how do we help sensory seeking children to seek the correction sensory experiences that they need? There's a multitude of ways that we can help support sensory seeking children, and some methods may not work for others, but as long as you're able to change and adapt methods to suit yours and your children's lifestyles, these methods should be helpful for everyone.
- Provide Sensory Input
Sensory seeking children are frequently looking for ways to regulate and calm their nervous system, which can be easily aided by creating a sensory space where they will be able to seek the experiences they are looking for. If you are unsure of how to create a sensory space in your home, check out our dedicated blog post here! A sensory space filled with sensory bins, areas for messy play/water play or even sensory trays, can be extremely helpful!
- Create a Sensory Routine
If you find that your child is particularly seeking movement, it may be worth creating a routine that focuses around them attaining this type of sensory experience. This could be as simple as making time to let them play with tactile sensory toys or use their sensory bins, or allowing them to conduct activities where they have plenty of space to swing/jump/spin safely.
- Use positive reinforcement
We know some behaviours that sensory seeking children can engage in can become frustrating for parents, especially when it tends to be disruptive. However, it is important to remember that this behaviours aren't deliberately disruptive and that some positive reinforcement can go a long way. So, next time you are able to engage your child in sensory activities and play, remember to encourage them and practice enthusiasm so that they feel more inclined to come back to these activities again!
Sensory seeking behaviours can be challenging to manage, but hopefully our methods were useful in helping you understand how to understand them a little better. By providing frequent sensory input and experiences, parents and caregivers are able to guide sensory seeking children towards more positive behaviours that have much more rewarding results!