Sensory avoidant parent with sensory seeking child

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Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,938

10 Nov 2021, 9:43 am

I've seen this combo described as one of the harder combinations of sensory needs for families to deal with. Are any of you dealing with this situation? What's your strategies for getting your kid's sensory needs met without overloading yourself?


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Joined: 25 Oct 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 827

11 Nov 2021, 6:46 am

For me, it would require me to understand the objective of the sensation seeking. If the child were seeking sensations as a way to calm anxieties, it would be different than seeking sensations for pleasure.

Children need to learn to moderate pleasure seeking sensations so that they will not continue this as they grow into areas of sex, drug, and alcohol indulgences.

Some parents start their parenting approach with rule based criteria. This can be helpful for toddlers. However, as time passes the child will need to learn how to take useful control of his own life. The development of self-control is critical for a child to have to bring into adulthood.

Depending on the age of the child, different tactics can be employed to introduce consequences for inappropriate sensation seeking. At first it may simply be a time limit such as saying. "I think that is enough for now".


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Joined: 14 Jul 2019
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,256

14 Nov 2021, 11:36 am

Hmmm, I am both sensory avoidant and seeking --- however I get easily overwhelmed by my ever-in-motion-touching-loud son. I am successful if I am prepared and relaxed, or if I have ear plugs, or sometimes I simply close my eyes to reduce the input; as he gets older I can ask him to bring down the touch or motion or sound a notch. If I'm failing at it and can: I will ask my "insensitive" (relative to me) husband to buffer or handle it.

If you are talking about outside the home - I stretch myself. Like many things in life it's easier with good tools ---- physical ones and emotional ones. I keep in mind that we want to mutually enjoy each other's company. I talk directly to him about his need (to move, touch, talk) and my sometimes need (for stillness) - I acknowledge that it's hard (for both of us) and we work it out together.

Good luck!!


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Joined: 28 Sep 2006
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,559
Location: Surrey, UK

14 Nov 2021, 1:11 pm

Firstly, congrats on being a Mum-to-be :)! Hope you’re feeling healthy and that all’s going well. Just for the record, I love babies/children, having worked with them as a Nursery Nurse in the past, and many with disabilities. Have had three of my own.

Sensory seeking children are my dream! But, only because I love setting up the home/childcare/classroom environment to include access to sensory experiences. The setup of the environment is everything!

From 8 months onwards, babies can be fingerpainting on your knee, enjoying sensory toys, music, stories(baby-friendly books), homemade sensory toys, enjoying & experiencing nature outdoors etc.

For toddlers, the introduction of water play, playdough, sand play, puppet play, music & movement, storytelling, outdoor(gross motor play - trikes, push toys, swings, tunnels, mini trampoline, balls, etc), indoor(fine motor play), stamp pads, various forms of painting, drawing, construction, art/crafts, collage, blowing bubbles etc, it becomes really exciting! A home corner with little play stove, play food, child-sized table and chairs. Going to the park, playgroups etc. Car/train play, dolls, dolls house, trikes, push toys etc.

Point being, that you as parent or carer don’t always need to be one on one with children, so long as a parent/care-provider remains “present”, though on the sidelines. Children need to be able to choose from activities, and also, over time separate themselves and feel comfortable “doing” things on their own accord, as a natural part of growth and development.

If you’re inclined to face overstimulation yourself from time with children, which I’d imagine would vary from day to day, forward planning would help with this. Have your Plan B(with less hands on activity involving you), so for example, you’re enjoying a cup of tea, things hopefully peaceful, as you’ve set up floor play for the baby with age appropriate/developmentally appropriate toys, or in the case of an older toddler/child, set up experiences, that are easy to access, allowing the child a choice, as these are already laid out in preparation.

Babies/children under 4yrs usually need daytime sleeps/naptime, which will give you a scheduled break too.