Sensory Tips for Cold Weather Clothing

Brrr it is getting cold outside!

Cooler weather sometimes brings challenges for children with sensory processing difficulties, as layers and different fabrics may be irritating and uncomfortable.  Just as you may prepare your child for other transitions throughout their day, you can also plan for weather changes.

Here are some tips and tricks from one of our Occupational Therapists to make the transition to warmer clothes easier!

Talk to your child

Discuss the change in weather and that they will need to wear different clothes to stay warm. You can do this through conversation, songs, or social stories.

TIP: use a calendar to mark off when the weather usually changes to visually prepare for the transition.

Explore Textures

With your child, go through last year’s winter clothes and feel different textures, allowing them to decide which ones they like best! Their preferences may change each year. Then go shopping together, allowing your child to touch the different clothing textures in the store as well. Have them talk about how each article of clothing feels, such as soft or scratchy.


Practice wearing clothes before going out in them- give your child a reward if needed and lots of praise and encouragement. This is a big accomplishment!

Offer Choices

Give your child two clothing choices that are appropriate for the weather. This will allow them to feel more in control.

Prepare the Body

Complete heavy work or proprioceptive activities before wearing clothing to prepare the body and neurological system. Here are some examples of what you can try:


Play with sensory bins to desensitize hands and feet. Use preferred toys and introduce snow or ice to adapt to the different feelings of cold and wet.

Overall, we know that new sensory experiences can be challenging for children. Remember to be patient and provide your child with a lot of support. The more fun and positive the experience the greater chance at success! 


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