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6 year old sensitive about clothing

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello Mamas,

I'm mostly writing for support from other parents who have dealt with something similar.  DD has always been sensitive about fabrics, length of her sleeves and pants and how everything fits.

She does better in the summer because of skirts and short sleeves.  We live in the Midwest and the transition to fall and winter is so hard on her.  She wears whatever she wants at home.  Often it's just underwear.  She also wears only underwear to bed, even in winter!  She says she's too hot with pajamas on.


She is sensitive about seams in her socks and seams in her armpits.  Has anyone had any luck with certain brands of clothes?  She generally prefers "soft pants" too.  No denim or stiff fabrics.


I'd love to hear from other people about your experiences and what has worked for your child.  Thank you!

post #2 of 16

We have similar. I have found that kicky pants underwear and shirts are great. They are expensive but I hit a great sale. If we can layer something she doesn't like as much outside it is fine. Previously we used hanna andersson undies which I would get from the outlet. I've found fleece lined pants work well for cold weather. One thing my dd hates is anything tight around her arm or wrist, like a coat with a cuff. As you know the cuff is a big part of keeping warm! This year I was lucky and found a non cuffed coat with minky type material on the inside. My dd prefers to wear leggings usually - sometimes hard to keep her warm in those but she will layer a pair of jeans or similar if it is really cold - again so the irritant isn't actually touching her skin. My dd will wear a long sleeve pajama top but just undies for bottoms. She uses a fleece blanket, well when she doesn't kick it off. I find no matter what time if I check on her she is warm-hot so I don't worry about it. If she gets cold she wakes up and comes to my bed.

post #3 of 16

I've got two kids who are sensitive to clothing -- one had full blown sensory processing disorder and the Occupational Therapy we did made a huge difference. The other is "just" sensitive. The kid who needed OT had his sensitivities interfering with daily life in a pretty big way (he would NOT wear shorts or short sleeves in the summer, ever; he wouldn't go barefoot, he wouldn't touch water, he couldn't pedal a trike at age 5 (dyspraxia along with sensory issues), he spent so much time trying to regulate his environment that his social development was pretty far behind.) So, I'd encourage you to read up on SPD and see if some of the things they do in OT might help your daughter. (My favorite books are Sensational Kids and The Out of Sync Child). We did the Wilbargar Brushing Protocol and it made a huge difference in what ds was willing to wear.


For both kids, things that help are:

All cotton clothing. For dd (my sensitive, but not SPD kid), I buy dresses from Lands End, Gymboree or Hanna Andersson. She lives entirely in soft leggings - usually Target, Lands End, or more currently Gymboree because she's a size 9 and few other people make them. Sometimes The Children's Place has things she'll wear. I get a lot of things on Ebay since I'm too cheap to pay $20 for a pair of leggings.


Mostly, she's in leggings + a shirt. I have no idea what we're going to do in a couple of years when she gets past size 12. She can tolerate about 10-20% poly-cotton blends too, but is more comfortable in cotton. Since you're in MN, eliminate wool from her wardrobe and go with microfleece.


Underwear has not been a problem for either of my kids, but I've heard great things about the Hanna Andersson underwear.


Socks: Dd solves the problem by taking her socks off whenever she can. When she has to wear socks, I try to get her thin socks, and if it's a bad day, we'll turn them inside out so that the seams are facing out. Dh taught me this trick (he's also got major sensory issues.)



Other things that help:

Keeping other sensory stimuli down when at all possible. Our house is pretty quiet (no radio going, TV is in the basement and only on when someone is watching). Dd is currently watching gymnastics videos on YouTube and is using headphones. Dh listens to a lot of music/podcasts via headphones. Sensory overload in one area can make tolerating any other sensory input harder.


"Heavy work" -- carrying heavy things, jumping (or anything that compresses the joints), wheelbarrow races, bear hugs, and the like give fully body sensory input and can help reset the system. I've noticed that our dd is calmer in the last few weeks and realized just as I was typing this that she's been working really hard on doing handstands. Handstands = heavy work in a major way.

post #4 of 16

OP you will be surprised how common this is. dd's grandma is also sensitive to this. i guess that's why many places like target dont have tags on their clothes but print the information on the back of the shirt/top itself. 


dd has worn boys underwear since she was 2. its only lately she has changed to girls because of social pressure. they have to be pure cotton.


dd's biggest complaint are socks - so she wears them inside out. and she kinda likes them snug. 


even today at 10, dd hangs out at home in her underwear. she takes off her bra as soon as possible. recently though she keeps her clothes on as the neighborhood kids come over to play. since she was 5 she has had two pairs of night wear for sleepovers. she does not wear anything to bed. never has even as a toddler. makes her too hot. whether in winter or summer. in fact footy pjs as a baby gave her night terrors.  


dd can handle spandex, but no wool or any man made fiber directly on her skin. too itchy. even blankets. 


i agree with the heavy work. when dd was littler if she allowed me i'd give her whole body hugs which helped her regulate her emotions. when she was younger horseplay was huge. wrestling would be a good sport for her. today sometimes we still cosleep and when we do she prefers me wrapping my whole body around her. 


oooh i wonder if those people who cant sleep alone, if they have this issue. 


we have not had issues with seams underarms as long as i feel the seams around her waist and underarms. some are pokey and dd hates that. but mostly this is once in a while thing. i have solved those problems by making her wear a short sleeved thin cotton undershirt. not tank top. 


and she still cant handle loud noises. esp. public pressure flushes. 


however she is also a sensory seeking child and sometimes can go go go go like the energizer bunny and i have to force her to call it quits or she gets a fever from too much activity. one day fevers. 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for sharing your children's stories and what works for you.  I really appreciate it.  It's good to talk about it.


pbjmama: DD loves wearing only underwear to bed and using a soft fleece blanket.  She says she likes how it feels on her skin too.

We also do fleece pants for a warm layer in winter when we're going outside.  She is a warm girl too.  Her skin is usually warm/hot to the touch.  She is often warmer than me.


LynnS6:  Thanks for sharing the resources that have helped you.  I will check them out.  DD loves leggings too.  Thanks for the reminders about keeping other sensory things at a minimum during the day.  DD also loves headstands and trying to do handstands.  Ever since she was a baby she loved being upside down.  She has a hard time sitting up at the table for meals.  She turns herself upside down on the chair.  I definitely want her to be safe and her body must also really be craving this position.  I will try to think of other "heavy work" ideas.  She absolutely loves mopping the floor with a mop or a wash cloth.  She does enjoy really physical activities.  Thanks for the ideas!


meemee: I agree that the printed tags are great.  I have cut many a tag out of clothes for DD and her little sister.  DD loves wrestling too.  She's been wanting to do more wresting with her cousins.  Today I gave her a super big hug before bed and she said she wanted more hugs like that.  I realized that the seams underarms are bothersome if the shirt is too small for her, or if she has too many layers on.  She calls the seams "balls in her armpits".  I think the seams and fabric are clumping up.  DD has also never liked loud toilet flushes.  As a toddler, she would scream and cry.  Now that she's 6, the asks me if I'll please wait to flush until she's out of the stall (usually the industrial public toilets).  She also covers her ears.  She also doesn't like those automatic hand dryers.  Super loud too.  We cosleep as well and I think it really helps her to have that closeness.  Which reminds me, we realized when she was around 1 or so, that it really helped her calm down to have a whole body massage at bedtime.  Sometimes it takes her awhile to settle down.  Massage really helps.  She also likes a medium amount of pressure on her arms and legs.  Thank you for responding!  It's really good for me to hear from other families.  As you say, I think it is more common than I once realized.  We all have our own sensitivities.  I don't like scratchy tags either.  Another thing I just thought of, DD LOVES really loud and fast music.  So sometimes she really craves that stimulation.  So interesting.

post #6 of 16

If sitting is hard for her, you might think about a sensory seat type thing: http://www.sensoryuniversity.com/Disc-O-Sit-Seat-Cushion-DISC-O-SIT.htm.


Other things that help are putting stretchy bands around the legs of the chair for her to push down on while she sits.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

The Disc'O Sit looks cool, LynnS6!  I will try the stretchy bands.  Thanks!

post #8 of 16

Would letting her wear leggings and long sleeved layering shirts under her favorite skirts/dresses work? DD and I are sensitive about clothing too and we love doing this in the fall and winter. I am very picky about sleeve lengths, I really prefer 3/4 length sleeves I could care less if my arms get cold, I also like sleeves that can stretch to my fingertips, just NO sitting on the wrists. Does she prefer her clothing loose or fitted? DD likes her clothes loose while I prefer fitted. How about shoes? DD and I are almost always barefoot, I only wear barefoot shoes (except in snow for obvious reasons;), dd likes ballet shoes and we're looking into kid friendly barefoot shoes for her.


Good luck!

post #9 of 16

Have you read, "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? She talks there about turning clothes inside out for children who are sensitive to seams. My DH does this with all of his night wear. He also can't stand anything wool or at all scratchy. All his clothes have to be extremely soft, as do sheets. I have learned to be sensitive to his sensitivities! DS1 has the same, though I think he may be slightly more tolerant (or just hasn't quite identified all the the things that bother him yet). He has had me remove numerous tags from clothing. So, just a little plug here for 1. choosing the material of clothing very carefully (even cotton can sometimes be scratchy) and 2. turning things inside out when the seam bothers (who cares what anyone thinks!).

post #10 of 16

ravenstar i am lucky in CA. i have access to ethnic stuff. 


here are some ideas that have worked a LOT for dd. 


1. when she was 4, 5 and 6 just an exercise ball was GREAT for her. esp. while doing homework. dd still sits on the exercise ball. 


2. since then i have gotten this in leather (thrift store) http://www.pfeiferstudio.com/product/690/Acaia-Wood-Ball-Stool she prefers this to a chair. 


i have a lot of throw pillows and dd loves bean bag chairs. 


and yes. we dont have comforters but a lot of fleece and this manmade  type really soft blankets (that you get in flea markets in california). once it gets cold (yeah dd cant handle rough cotton or flannel sheets and i cant handle silk) so we use thin fleece blankets as our sheets. 


and yes. i forgot to mention i buy dd a size bigger for seam issues. 


here's the funny part. i could never swaddle dd. she would be v. restless. but if i slept with her with my arms around her (of course this is AFTER she got off my chest) she slept more peacefully. at 3 months our cats took over. one would sleep along dd's back touching her and one near her head with cat body and dd's head touching cat - and dd would sleep through that. fascinating isnt it. 


luckily we live in a no snow area. dd has rarely worn a jacket. nowadays she only wears a jacket for fashion. she has been out in 30s weather with flip flops on. she has never ever turned blue, but she has been a sweaty mess because i insisted on putting warmer clothes on her as a baby coz i could not believe she would not be cold. 

post #11 of 16

I am the same way. As a child I wore socks inside out all of the time because of the seams. I still cannot wear jewelry-even my wedding ring- and have trouble with scarves or anything at my neck. Can't stand pants. I wear loose skirts and a t-shirt. 3/4 length sleeves are evil, short or no sleeves are perfect and long are tolerable. I add leggings under the skirt in the winter and go out in a coat and gloves - NOT mittens, even as a kid I hated mittens with a passion though that's what they gave me. The socks can now be right side out but still have to be right, trial and error can work out what styles will do, crew or dress socks, tall and fitted styles. Of course as an adult I won't whine much about my discomfort anymore, just tug at things and get irritated in general until it's fixed, and I know what to buy myself now. Hm I sound like a nutcase but in person only my husband knows it lol.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi Mittsy!

DD is very specific about sleeve length as well.  She prefers short sleeves or no sleeves.  Often, she wears this around the house or just underwear.  She is finally willing to wear her winter coat now.  It always takes awhile to transition from the warm to cold season.  Today we had a bit of freezing rain or sleet so it's really cooling off.  With long sleeves, they have to end right at the wrist crease or above.  Anything touching her hand is not okay and she really doesn't like sleeves rolled up.  It has all become easier to deal with over the years.  We try things on at the end of summer and check sleeve lengths.  The ones that are too long I put in the closet for next year or if she goes through a growth spurt.


She really varies with tight vs. loose clothes.  I would say that she really prefers loose shirts.  She loves skirts too.  She is okay with cotton knit pants and fine if they are loose or tight.  They just can't be "jaggy", her word for when they dig into her butt.  Anything in that category, I put away for her sister to wear someday.  This is usually when the pants are too small or too tight.


DD also loves being barefoot!  She goes barefoot all summer and spring and fall when it's not too cold.  She only wears socks when we have to for going outside.  Basically when we walk in the house, she takes off shoes, socks and sometimes all of her clothes.  She loves sundresses and skirts year round in the house.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

porcelina: I haven't read that book yet.  I've heard of it.  I'll definitely check it out.  We have tried turning socks inside out.  For socks with big seams, this still bothers her inside her shoes.  I found some socks that say they are "seamless", the seam is a very thin stitch.  These are the ones she prefers.  They are very thin cotton.  We generally avoid wool, especially the really rough, scratchy kind.  However, she will wear smartwool socks for playing in the snow.  Now that she's older, she has seen how these socks keep her feet warmer than cotton and she really doesn't like cold toes!  the smartwool socks we got are really soft.


Thanks for the tips!  I will try offering her the option of turning shirts inside out.  In addition to how things feel, she is also particular about how things look.  So we're always trying to find a balance between those two things.  She loves ballet shoes too.  She also loved her Robeez when she was younger and tried to fit into them long after she outgrew them.  Ballet shoes came after that for us.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

meemee, thanks for reminding me about the exercise balls.  I think now she would be big enough to use the one I have to sit on at the table.  The other chair looks cool too.  After talking about chairs, I realized that at our big table for dinner, her feet don't reach the floor.  I think that would really help her.

I was able to swaddle DD for the first two weeks of her life or so.  After that, it didn't work any more and she'd bust out of it.  Also, I bought two baby carriers before she was born.  A ring sling and a mei tai wrap.  She didn't like being in the sling as an infant.  I read about trying to keep introducing it and they'd get used to it.  I even put her in it once she was asleep and she'd wake up and want to get out.  Once she could sit up and hold her head up, she loved facing outward.  She didn't like facing in at all.  With her little sister, I finally learned how to use a maya wrap and wished I had one with DD.


I love your cat story, that is so sweet!  We have cats too.   They are so funny.  I can imagine it would be nice to live somewhere without snow or very cold weather.  We push the limits a little bit.  Obviously I don't want her to get frostbite or anything, but like today it was cold (high 30's to low 40's) and her hands were turning pinkish-red.  So she wore mittens off and on.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

JamieCathery: that's the great part about being an adult!  We have found ways to manage and we get to make our own choices.  I think everyone has certain sensitivities.  I know I do!  My wedding band bothers me too.  It is too tight.  So I wear my engagement ring on that finger most of the time.  We do whatever works for us!

post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by RavenStar View Post

She really varies with tight vs. loose clothes.  I would say that she really prefers loose shirts.  She loves skirts too.  She is okay with cotton knit pants and fine if they are loose or tight.  They just can't be "jaggy", her word for when they dig into her butt.  Anything in that category, I put away for her sister to wear someday.  This is usually when the pants are too small or too tight.

with dd i found it wasnt so much tight or lose but what kind of thread they used. some of them are pokey. and some of them are sewed with so much material that they seem bulky. 


DD also loves being barefoot!  She goes barefoot all summer and spring and fall when it's not too cold.  She only wears socks when we have to for going outside.  Basically when we walk in the house, she takes off shoes, socks and sometimes all of her clothes.  She loves sundresses and skirts year round in the house.

even at 10 dd still prefers this. but doesnt coz she has friends come over. but after they leave and she starts getting ready for the night thats when it al comes off. 

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