Parenting Through the Pandemic: Sensory Needs & Emotional Regulation

Photo of Sensory Needs ME Guest, Kate BiedermanDid you know that a hug, a soft and fuzzy robe, or rough-and-tumble play might all be a part of how we cope during challenging times? We each have different emotional regulation and sensory needs. Tending to these unique needs is important during difficult times, like the current pandemic. How are you and your children doing with emotional and sensory regulation during the stress of the pandemic?


Families around the globe are facing unprecedented health and economic threats, with great uncertainty about how long-lasting and severe both will be. On top of those overarching challenges, most of us are many weeks into school closings, layoffs from work (or trying to work from home while our kids do online school), isolation from friends and family outside of our households, and cancellation of our favorite sports, arts and other recreational activities. We may feel overwhelmed, bored, lonely, frustrated, anxious or depressed. Or we may feel relieved to have a break from the usual hectic schedules of our ordinary lives and relish home-cooked meals and cozy evenings watching movies or playing family games. (If you’re like Mom Enough co-hosts Marti & Erin, you may feel all of those things from one day to the next – or even within one day!)


This week’s guest, Kate Biederman, brings a fresh perspective to these challenges and opportunities, drawing on more than 30 years of work as a pediatric occupational therapist, 23 of those years at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development (a longtime supporting partner of Mom Enough). As Clinical Supervisor of Occupational Therapy, Kate knows that children’s “occupations” include play, learning, social interactions and, as she says, “getting through the day without falling apart” – all of which are likely to be challenged by this current situation. But Kate brings an important brain-body perspective to guide us in how to enhance the ways our children – and we! – navigate these challenging times. From establishing new routines and a predictable schedule, to using movement, touch, sounds and foods to maintain regulation, Kate provides reassurance and practical tips. She introduces the concept of “heavy work” and the ways it can both calm and energize us and our children. And she provides wise guidance about how to communicate our own needs and personal boundaries to our children, as well as how to get down on the floor and follow our children’s interests, letting them lead and teach us as we tap into our own inner child. Tune in to learn more and to tap into the wealth of sensory and emotional regulations tools available to us right at home!



What have you experienced during the pandemic and the resulting shutdowns? What have been the most challenging things for you about this time? And what, if anything, has been a relief or a pleasant surprise about the restrictions we are facing? How have your children handled things like school closures, online learning, not being able to play with friends and fears aroused by what they hear about the virus? What practical tips in this Mom Enough discussion struck a chord with you, and what steps could you take to help you and your children navigate these uncertain times and even build some habits you can continue when we move into easier times?




FINDING THE RIGHT “SENSORY DIET” FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD: PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR REGULATING EMOTION AND SUSTAINING OPTIMAL ENERGY. Listen to this episode to become more aware of “sensory diets” and how we can identify the sensory tools and techniques that will help our children be their best at home and in the community.


SENSORY AND MOTOR DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN: MILESTONES, RED FLAGS AND HELPFUL TIPS. Tune in to this episode to learn how to identify developmental milestones and support your infant’s sensory and motor development.

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