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Dealing With Sensory Processing Disorder in a Toddler

Updated on September 16, 2018
My Daughter Chewing on a bead knecklace
My Daughter Chewing on a bead knecklace

Patience, love, frustration, encouragement, and family; the foundation to handling Toddlers with Sensory processing disorder. Its Incredibly challenging, if not pretty much impossible, to develop the perfect home for toddlers with SPD. However, you can work hard and create a calm environment, rich and full of love and support for your wonderful, special, and perfect toddler. Never give up; Always keep trying your best.

Have you ever found yourself at a breaking point; a time where you were not sure what your next move would be? We have all been there. In these moments, I find myself repeating, in my head, Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue,patience is a virtue. Remaining calm and patient can be challenging when you are dealing with the emotional roller coaster of a toddler with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). Just like all of us, they have good days and bad days.Remaining patient will encourage your toddler to have more good days, which means easier days for the whole family. Your toddler relies on your emotional responses. If you are not patient, your toddler wont be either..

Each person can find ways to bring yourself back into the patient zone. I have found that counting backwards from five, with your toddler, lets them know you are feeling less patient and can help them learn how to re-establish their grounding for a calmer attitude. Remaining patient helps teach that it is acceptable to have the emotions they are feeling, whether that means over excitement, an excessive amount of anger, shutting down, biting and licking items, or being terrified. Patience creates a safe space for your SPD toddler so that they may grow and handle their emotional responses in a healthy manner. Build a strong foundation of patience. Find the right method to remaining calm and patient and your whole family will reap the benefits.


Love is the easiest emotion to feel and give. In a household with an SPD toddler, Love is an absolute given. Mothers love their children unconditionally. A toddler with SPD is no different in this category,and with a positive attitude, is just so much more to love. Each toddler is different when it comes to SPD. It will take time to discover what methods works for your family. Some of them like to be coddled, and some do not like to be touched at all. Through these daily challenges, the most important action, for your toddler, is love them with all your heart. Respecting their space, emotions, and boundaries will always show that you have nothing but intentions of loving them. Love is a strong emotion, and with that strength you, as a parent, will lift your toddler up and carry them through the good and the bad days. They need to be shown that no matter what display of actions are given, no matter how hard their day is, no matter how angry they get, no matter how many times they shut you out, no matter how many shirts they chew a hole through, that you will love them unconditionally. A toddler, or anybody for that matter, can not grow without the love of those around them. Build a strong foundation of love. Keep that foundation strong and never let your toddler feel any less.

using paint to calm down
using paint to calm down

Parents who live with SPD toddlers will experience lots of frustration. You must be asking yourself, how can frustration be a foundation? Just as it is healthy and normal for your toddler to experience a roller coaster of emotions, it is perfectly normal for you as the parent as well.Feeling frustration allows for the beginning of creating a healthy and safe environment for you toddler. In the moments that you feel frustrated, and have met a personal boundary, you will need to back up an re-evaluate the situation. In these particular times, your SPD toddler is having a moment too. They are either reaching their limit or boundary, or discovering something that messes with their SPD and throws them for a loop.

This is a perfect time to asses the situation and figure out what is causing the issue. Calm your toddler down, whether with a sensory swing, or a game, or a blanket, or whatever works for your toddler. After they are calm, and ready to talk, allow them to express what made them upset, or feel uncomfortable. You may ask them to color or play with dolls. Many times they will act out or color what is bothering them. Once you've figured out what the issue is, though it may not always be easy or clear, and sometimes you might not figure it out at all, you can move on to discussing emotions. Let your toddler know, it is acceptable to feel the emotions toiling in their brain. Express that its acceptable to act out his or her emotions, as long as they do not hurt others or their self. Use the frustration as a foundation to discover the quirks and boundaries of your SPD toddler. You can only move forward, not backwards.

A toddler with SPD being a part of a family is such a wonderful, beneficial, and encouraging situation. Family and encouragement go hand in hand. Parents can use the family to encourage a safe, calm, loving environment. This promotes healthy growth of, not just your toddler, but the family as a whole. Encourage each other to recognize each others boundaries. This will help keep a calm house hold for your toddler.Encourage the involvement of siblings with knowing what SPD means for their little sister or brother. Knowledge is powerful. They will find it easier to tolerate their younger sibling if they understand why he or she acts sporadic, or acts like they cant hear them, or acts like they are angry. Use games to allow encouragement. As they play a game, the siblings and parents as well, can encourage the toddler to keep going, to work past his or her fears, and boundaries in a safe environment. Working together as a family will allow your toddler to feel loved and supported. This family and encouragement foundation will allow your SPD toddler to thrive and know that they are respected for who they are. Encourage, encourage, encourage!

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