originally written for and published on Wolf+Friends
Have you realized that your smallest passengers can be overwhelmed by the sensory information a simple car ride provides to their little bodies? As you prepare for your summer car trek to the beach, think about it, their visual systems are processing all that there is to see inside and outside the windows, their vestibular systems are processing the speed and movement of the vehicle, the proprioceptive and tactile senses are activated by the jostling and bumping, car seat harnesses and seat belts, their auditory system is processing noise from siblings, parents, and the radio, and their olfactory system may be trying to sort through the many scents of car-garbage, gasoline, and your perfume! It can all be a bit too much and depending on how your child processes all of this sensory information, you could end up with a stir-crazy or motion-sick child. We know that proprioceptive input (sensory information to the muscles and joints like pushing/pulling/carrying) is calming and organizing. On a road trip, it’s important to consider how to give your child targeted sensory input to help regulate them when their sensory systems are being overloaded.