There is a lot going on in our world today and I don’t mean politically, although that is certainly true! A trip to everything from the shops, to a museum, to the cinema can be full of flashing lights, loud noises, and unusual spaces which, for many children, is just all a bit too much.
My five year old is one such child and although he is little he has an adult sized amount of anxiety when it comes to unfamiliar surroundings or places where there is simply just too much going on around him. A particularly memorable moment was at a science museum which was geared specifically towards children. It was a wet Saturday and we had managed to arrive in the interactive part of the museum at precisely the same time as everyone else it seemed. There were lots of people, noise, lights, movement and to top it all of there was a special make music event going on amongst all of this. He started off having great time but as the home made drums and horns started up for the 5th time, what was meant to have been an enjoyable family day out suddenly ended with him hiding in the toilets for an hour until we were able to convince him to come out. As we made our exit with the husband carrying him under a jacket. I have never been so glad to have had our homemade sensory bottle waiting for us in the car. We made it using an old water bottle, some oil, food colouring and water (check out the tutorial we used here).
As we sat in the car I was able to slide it under the jacket to my stressed out five years old and almost immediately, the sobs were replaced with slow deeper breaths that we know are the sign of him beginning to relax a little. As he watched the colours settle, he said “I like the museum but sometimes home made stuff is nicer… can we get ice cream now please?” It may not seem like much, but there was a time, not too long ago where an episode like that would have meant we had no option but to go straight home, but a simple DIY meant we could continue about our day.