How to Help a Child With Sensory Processing Disorder at Home

Reviewed By

Learn how to create a calming and supportive home environment for children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) using easy-to-implement strategies.

Uploaded on:


Last Reviewed:


Reading Time:

Table of Contents

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) can be a confusing and challenging experience for both children and parents.  This guide will provide information and strategies to create a supportive home environment for your child with SPD.

What is sensory processing disorder (SPD)?

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is difficulty processing sensory information from the environment. Children with SPD may experience sensory information as overly intense, underresponsive, or combined. 

This can lead to problems with daily activities, social interactions, and emotional regulation.

There are three main types of SPD:

  • Oversensitivity: Children with oversensitivity are bothered by everyday sensory experiences, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures.
  • Under-sensitivity: Children with under-sensitivity may not register sensory information as strongly as others. They may seek out intense sensory experiences, such as spinning or jumping.
  • Sensory seeking: Some children may crave intense sensory input and actively seek it out.

“Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information (stimuli).” 
💡Family Doctor

How can I tell if my child has SPD?

Is your child super sensitive to certain things like loud noises, bright lights, or itchy clothes? These could be signs of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

There is no single test to diagnose SPP, but some red flags to look for include:

  • Dislikes loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells
  • Avoids certain textures (clothing tags, specific fabrics)
  • Becomes easily startled or overwhelmed
  • Seems unaware of pain or temperature changes
  • Doesn't seem to notice sights, sounds, or smells
  • Seeks out intense sensory experiences (jumping, crashing, spinning)
  • Fidgets constantly
  • Craves roughhousing or other intense physical activities
  • Mouths objects or chews on inedible things
  • If you are concerned that your child may have SPD, it is important to consult with a doctor or occupational therapist for a proper evaluation.

Tips for creating a sensory-friendly home

Creating a sensory-friendly home is all about making your space comfortable and manageable for everyone.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Take out the fluorescent lighting.
  2. Remove clutter to lessen visual distractions.
  3. Make work places simpler.
  4. Make the type larger on worksheets and homework assignments.
  5. Request a visual processing evaluation from a physician.

Fun activities at home for children with sensory processing disorder

Loud noises or certain sounds can be overwhelming for children with auditory sensitivities. Here are some activities that can help create a calmer and more manageable environment:

Activities for auditory sensitivities

  • Reading time: Curl up with a cozy blanket and their favorite book. This provides a calming, focused activity that reduces dependence on external sounds.
  • Create a calming playlist: Music can be engaging and promote concentration. Consider the StoryBook app, where you can find music, meditation, affirmations and more for your children.
  • Noise-canceling headphones: These headphones use technology to block out external noises actively. They generate sound waves that cancel out unwanted noise, creating a quieter environment.
  • Ear defenders: Ear defenders are passive noise-reduction tools that physically block out sound using thick padding around the ears.
  • Sensory bottles: Sensory bottles are calming visual and auditory tools. They contain water, glitter, small objects, and a secure seal. When shaken, they create a gentle, mesmerizing flow that can be visually stimulating and provide a calming sound.
  • White noise: White noise is a constant, low-level hum that combines all audible frequencies at roughly equal intensity.
  • Calming games

Games that involve matching, sorting, or building can be engaging and promote focus without requiring a lot of auditory stimulation. Consider puzzles, blocks, or simple art projects. There are also calming apps like StoryBook, which offer music, meditation, and affirmations and are specifically designed to help children relax and focus.

Activities for visual sensitivities 

  • Dim the lights

It reduces visual stimulation and creates a more calming atmosphere.

Is your kid not getting enough sleep?
We can help you!

Establish a bedtime relaxing activity that signals to your toddler that it's time to wind down.

Try it now!
  • Sunglasses

Blocks out harsh sunlight or overly bright environments that can be uncomfortable for some children.

  • Color overlays

 Colored overlays are transparent sheets placed over reading materials or screens that can reduce glare and make text appear sharper or more comfortable to read.

  • Low-stimulus environments

Provides a break from visually overwhelming situations.

  • Sensory mats

Offers calming tactile input and visual stimulation.

  • Nature walks

Offers a natural environment with calming colors and diffused light.

Activities for tactile sensitivities 

  • Play dough fun: It offers a variety of textures and allows for creative exploration.
  • Sensory bins: provide a stimulating and engaging way to explore different textures.
  • Fidget toys: Fidget toys offer a discreet way for children to self-regulate and manage sensory needs.
  • Weighted blanket: It provides deep pressure stimulation that can be calming and promote relaxation.
  • Brushing activities: It offers gentle tactile input and can be a calming sensory experience.
  • Sock puppet play: Provides a fun way to explore touch through a safe and playful medium.
  • Water activities: provide a fun and refreshing way to explore tactile sensations.

Activities for movement 

  • Jumping activities: It provides deep pressure input and vestibular stimulation, which can be calming for some children.
  • Obstacle courses: Encourages gross motor skills development, coordination, and problem-solving skills while offering a fun physical challenge.
  • Animal walks: Promotes imaginative play, coordination, and balance in a fun way.
  • Yoga poses: Provide mindful movement, improve body awareness, and can be calming and stress-reducing.
  • Dance party: It offers a fun and energetic way to move and release energy.
  • Heavy work activities: It provides deep pressure input that can be calming and organizing for the sensory system.
  • Climbing activities: It provides vestibular stimulation and proprioceptive input, which can be calming for some children and help with body awareness.

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!


More Wellness Posts