Uniform Woes

What To Do When Your Kid Says, ‘Not Uniforms Again’! 

School is coming back and it’s that time of year to start purchasing new uniforms for your children. Maybe this is the first time your child has to wear a uniform, or maybe this has been a fight every year for several years. There are many reasons why your child might be fighting you on having to wear a uniform. Many times, uniforms come with itchy fabrics, stiff collars, and extra seams. Sometimes they require greater fine motor skills to put on and take off. And they are typically warmer to wear than the clothes your children have been wearing all summer.

Tactile sensitivities can be a contributing cause to why your child does not like their school uniform. Tactile sensitivity means that your child’s brain reacts stronger to sensations on their skin than many of their peers. Some tactile preferences are normal. For example, those tags in shirts that are really itchy. When it starts to impact everyday participation is when it might be time to get some help. Here are some strategies that may be beneficial when it comes to uniforms:

If possible, allow your child to wear soft undershirts and shorts under their uniforms to prevent the sensation from touching their skin. Trial a couple of different types of textures to determine what works best for your child.

  • Practice wearing uniforms early. Start wearing uniforms for a few minutes at a time a couple of weeks before school starts to allow your child to get more accustomed to the feeling of the uniform material.
  • Have your child play in their uniforms. Oftentimes physical activity can have a calming effect on the nervous system. This may help your child’s brain calm after an initial panic reaction to the material.
  • Practice buttoning and zipping the new uniforms to make sure your child feels comfortable taking them off and on. Try to make it a race, i.e., how fast can you do these buttons.
  • These are some strategies that may help ease the transition back to school! If concerns persist with large emotional reactions to having to wear a uniform, it may be time to seek an occupational therapy evaluation.
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