One of the hallmark traits of life with rigid, anxious, or distracted kids is the inconsistent presentation of symptoms and challenges.  This can be one of the hardest things to understand when parenting or supporting a sensory child.  Just when you feel like your child is in a new place of connectedness, flexibility, and calmness – things can shift and you can find your child regressing to distracted, inflexible, and irritible behaviors.  A few tips to help you be ready for these cycles and move with the flow

 * Have Your Tools Ready

This is when you need to lean heavily on the sensory organizing tools we know work so well for sensory kids.  Creating stucture, routines, and visual aids around challenging times or tasks will be a huge support for YOU and your child during these cycles.  Use the more calm, connected cycles to fine tune your tools and Have them ready to go!

Trust That Growth Happens in All Phases

When sensory kids are in a more challenging cycle, there are still the same opportunities for life lessons and growth for you and for them.  As a parent – know it will take more patience, some objective observation, and flexibility on how situations play out.  Bottom line is you will learn as much about how to support your sensory child in these challenging phases as you do in the more regulated phases.  Pay attention and take notes!

This Too Shall Pass

Many rigid, anxious, and distracted kids own and connect with their feelings more intensely then other children.  One of the best things you can teach your sensory child (and yourself!) is that all feelings are temporary.  Like the sunny day that comes after a big thunderstorm, the uncomfortable and intense feelings will shift bringing in a new appreciation of the calmer and connected times.

The gifts of the consistently inconsistent experience are there if we can be ready for the expected shifts in behavior.  Having our sensory tools ready, trusting that growth happens in all phases, and knowing that this too shall pass will help all of us flow through these cycles more productively.  And a true lesson in how to live in the here and now each and every day ~

Carolyn Dalgliesh is the founder and owner of Systems for Sensory Kids and Simple Organizing Strategies helping sensory families, individuals, and businesses get organized.  A sensory parent and a professional organizer, Carolyn is the author of The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, and Distracted Kids” (Touchstone / Simon & Schuster 2013). She is the member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two children.