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Raising a Sensory Smart Child

One of the wisest things my mom taught me about parenting is, You have to pick your battles. When my son was about 10 years old, he wanted to grow a tail. No, not that kind of tail, this one involved letting the hair at the back of his neck grow while keeping the rest of his hair short.

I had a list of things I was worried about at that stage, including how much time he spent on the computer and whether he was getting a healthy breakfast before school. Did I love the tail? No, although it was actually kind of cute. But I realized that letting him wear his hair in whatever style he wanted was one way to let him have control over himself and would let me focus on the more important issues of screen time and healthy eating.

Another lesson I've learned in life is it's important to get the basics right to free up our energy to focus on the important tasks. For me, this means I choose to be comfortable over fashionable. I wear flats, not heels. I'm super picky about bras and will not wear one that is too tight or has scratchy threads or straps that won't stay up.

So, it only makes sense to me that one of our primary responsibilities toward our kids is to make sure that they have underwear and clothes that feel comfortable for them, which are not distracting, so they can focus at school and home. This way, they don't spend any energy dealing with the discomfort of clothes which scratch or chafe. And this frees us up to focus on more important parenting goals, like nutrition.

Lindsey Biel, a pediatric occupational therapist, is author of a wonderful book called Raising A Sensory Smart Child. It's an award-winning book co-written with Nancy Peske, the mother of a child with sensory processing disorder, that helps the parents of children with sensory processing difficulties understand and better cope with their children's challenges. In her forward to this book, Temple Grandin writes, "Scratchy petticoats and wool clothes were like sandpaper against my skin. I still wear my underwear inside out so that the stitching does not rub against me."

Maybe your child reacts strongly to the tags on her clothes, or refuses to wear a turtleneck shirt, or can't concentrate when her underwear elastic is too tight. Whatever the distractions, it makes sense to eliminate them to allow your child to focus on important tasks and goals.

Your child needn't to be on the autism spectrum or diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder to benefit from the great advice this book provides. There are chapters on understanding the seven senses and how we process them, signs that might indicate your child has a sensory processing disorder, and recommendations for how to deal with a multitude of related issues including clothing, sleep, eating, and many more.

There's also a website,, where Lindsey provides lots of helpful information and resources. One important insight is this recommendation related to clothing and fit:

Consider tightness vs. looseness.Some children are more comfortable wearing snug clothing or tight clothing worn beneath their other clothes. Try bicycle shorts, tights, “too small” t-shirts, etc.

Fit is critical to comfort– and the Goldilocks rule often applies. Some kids like their clothes loose. They don't want any constrictive features such as tight collars, wristbands, or elastic on their underwear waistbands and leg openings. Other children don't like oversized and loose clothing– the feeling of the loose fabric of a woven shirt rubbing against their torso is too overstimulating. Or the fabric of their pants against their legs causes chaffing.
And some children like the feeling of uniform snugness provided by wearing a well-fitting pair of underwear, t-shirt, or camisole under their outer clothing. Finding the sweet spot for your child, whether it's searching for the most comfortable pair of underwear or allowing her to wear bike shorts under her dress, is a simple way to eliminate one source of distraction and conflict in your child's (and your) life.


At Lucky & Me, all garments are carefully designed to fit to provide just the right amount of snug fit without any binding or chaffing. 

The fabrics and yarns are chosen for flexibility and elasticity to provide give and stretch where needed. If you try Lucky & Me products for your child, I think you'll find that they provide distraction-free comfort all day long, allowing your child to focus on the important things like homework, and maybe even their hair style.


By Liz Smith. Liz has worked across the globe for many of the world's best known apparel brands, including Justice, Chico's, Victoria's Secret, and Hanes. She has worked closely with dozens of factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising - so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products.