How to Find Comfortable Clothing for Kids With Sensory Processing Issues

A mother holding a long sleeved shirt on a hanger up against her smiling daughter in a children's clothing store.For sensitive children, aspects of the world that many people don’t even notice – like the texture of a sweater against your skin or a t-shirt’s tag brushing against the back of your neck – can seem unbearable. Wearing clothes that don’t feel right can ruin anyone’s day, and it can prove particularly difficult for kids who have sensory processing issues to find comfortable apparel that doesn’t overwhelm or irritate them.

If you’re the parent or caregiver for a child who’s hypersensitive to stimuli, here are some recommendations for finding comfortable clothing for kids with sensory processing issues.

1. Look for extremely soft clothes.

It’s common for sensitive children to strongly dislike fabric that feels scratchy or stiff. To remedy that, search for items made of super soft material (e.g., natural fibers like cotton and linen), according to the Understood.org article “6 Sensory-Friendly Clothing Solutions.” It also helps to avoid clothes with collars, zippers, and decorations that can have a rough texture on the back side.

2. Buy garments without tags or seams if possible.

Plenty of retailers sell children’s clothes without these potentially irritating features, according to Understood.org. For items that do have tags, you can cut them off as close to the seam as possible.

3. Give your child options.

People of all ages commonly like to have control over what they wear and don’t feel at ease in clothes they feel they were forced to put on. It’s a good idea to give sensitive kids, in particular, some say in the outfits they wear – they might even be more willing to go outside their comfort zone if they feel they’re in charge of the experience, according to the Your Kids Table article “The Best Solutions for Clothing Sensitivity in Kids.”

For instance, you might show them two shirts made from different types of fabric, explain the textures, and ask which one they would prefer.

4. Look into stores that specialize in sensory-friendly garments.

Sensory issues aren’t uncommon, and, as a result, there are numerous retailers out there that make clothes specifically for children who are hypersensitive to sensory input. The non-profit Friendship Circle offers suggestions in this article: “8 Online Stores to Purchase Sensory Friendly Clothing.”

If you’d like more information about sensory processing issues in general, please take a look at our previous blog posts: “Signs Your Child Could Have Sensory Processing Issues” and “5 Tips to Make the Holiday Season Easier for Kids With Sensory Processing Issues.”

Additionally, our pediatric occupational therapists can help if you have any questions about finding comfortable clothing for kids with sensory processing issues and/or about helping make life easier for sensitive children. Our team of pediatric professionals is dedicated to delivering compassionate and comprehensive care to improve the lives of children of all ages, one step at a time. To learn more, please call 847-707-6744 or email info@littlestepspt.com.

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