Itchy Tags, Bothersome Seams, and Tight Waistbands… Oh My!
“SORRY WE’RE LATE. MY CHILD HAD A BUMP IN HER SOCK.”
Many parents of children with ADHD, including myself, can relate to this. Cutting tags off of clothes and tucking (and re-tucking) shirts into pants so our child isn’t bothered by the elastic and inseams has become the norm for us.
While it’s true that all children can be bothered by certain types of clothing, children with ADHD can be quite hypersensitive. When you pair hypersensitivity with the emotional dysregulation experienced by many children with ADHD, the result is not very pleasant. For example, an itchy tag in a shirt can cause a full-blown meltdown at any given moment for my daughter.
It is well known that children with ADHD have a difficult time paying attention. In actuality, their minds are paying attention, but the problem is they are also paying attention to many other things at the same time. It’s the way their brains are wired, which can be a blessing and a curse. While my younger neurotypical daughter can tolerate wearing a Christmas sweater that’s a bit itchy, that same sweater would drive her hypersensitive older sister absolutely crazy the second she put it on.
Occupational therapist Jennifer Lake explained it this way: “Some people’s sensory systems are perpetually on overload, because they detect everything. They hear electricity from the lights buzzing, the power bar plugged into the wall, the teacher walking down the hall with heels clonking. Then someone bumps into them by accident and they lose it – all the while the bump in their shoe from their sock was driving them crazy. It’s basically from a too-alert sensory system where their responses may seem way out of proportion in reaction to something small setting them off. When in actuality, it is an incredibly hypersensitive sensory system that is super overtaxed finally erupting.”
Last August, many families with hypersensitive children flocked to Target when the company announced they were debuting their Cat & Jack sensory-friendly clothing line. The clothes are tagless with flat seams and have one-dimensional graphics on them. This is fantastic, but it’s slim pickings as there really isn’t much there. Perhaps the company will offer more of a selection over time.
Parents of children with ADHD will do everything they can to keep their child comfortable and prevent meltdowns. This includes going on a mission to find the best sensory-friendly clothing, which is exactly what I did. Here are the top three sensory-friendly clothing companies:
KICKEE PANTS, www.kickeepants.com
This fantastic company prides itself on creating clothes that are not only fashionable, but comfortable. Sizes range from newborn all the way to size 10. I love the fact that my eight-year-old’s clothes are made with the same soft and cozy fabric that I could snuggle a newborn baby in. For the softest fabric, the company recommends going for their solids and stripes clothing. My daughter absolutely loves her striped leggings ($24) that are made from 95% bamboo viscose and 5% spandex. KicKee Pants creates six new collections every year, so there is always something to look forward to. During special promotions, you can earn KicKee Points, which means that every point you earn equals $1 you can spend towards your next purchase.
PEEKABOO BEANS, www.peekaboobeans.com
If you have a hyperactive child like mine, this is the company for you! The clothing company creates comfortable and durable clothes made without any itchy parts, snaps, and buttons designed to last through climbing, twisting, jumping, and crawling on all fours. Peekaboo Beans’ quality fabrics are in line with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and the company uses flatlock stitching to provide less irritation and bulk on children’s sensitive skin. Like KicKee Pants, sizes range from newborn to size 10. Although all their clothes are adorable, my daughter and I especially love their gorgeous tunics. Our favorite is the A-lined Water Edge Tunic ($44.80), which is made out of 95% cotton and 5% spandex.
LUCKY & ME, www.luckyandme.com
“Never underestimate the power of underpants!” says Captain Underpants. Lucky & Me is a wonderful children’s clothing company that specializes in comfortable, durable, and adorable underwear, undershirts, socks, and active-wear in sizes 2/3 all the way up to 9/10. Depending on the type of underwear, they are made from 100% cotton or a super soft tri-blend fabric of 55% cotton, modal (36%), and spandex (9%) and they are all made with a soft and plush waistband. With Lucky & Me, your child never has to worry about a bump in her sock ruining her day, because their socks are made of super soft, premium combed Turkish cotton and are the perfect balance of absorbency and smooth comfort. What my daughter and I love the most about Lucky & Me’s collection though are their comfortable and stretchy tank tops ($35 for a three-pack) and corresponding bold colored dance shorts ($30 for a three-pack). My daughter enjoys mixing and matching them and showing them off in her Hip-Hop class every week. (Side Note: My daughter must wear an uncomfortably stiff uniform at school and there’s no way of getting out of it, so she wears her Lucky & Me shorts and tank top underneath to keep her comfortable.)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: I asked other parents in the My Little Villagers community where they have had luck with finding clothing that didn’t irritate their hypersensitive child. They listed the following stores and websites:
● The Children’s Place | www.childrensplace.com/us/home
● Old Navy | www.oldnavy.gap.com
● Gap | www.gap.com
● Primary | www.primary.com
● Dot Dot Smile | www.dotdotsmile.com
Cristina Margolis is the mother of two young daughters, one of whom has ADHD. She writes the My Little Villagers blog (MyLittleVillagers.com) to document her daughter’s life with ADHD and to help spread awareness of ADHD. Margolis also runs Pen Pallies, a worldwide pen pal program for children with ADHD, and is currently writing a children’s book. Her work has been featured on The Mighty and ScaryMommy. Her blogs frequently appear in CHADD’s monthly Best of the ADHD Blogs list.
UPDATED: September 14, 2020
Other Articles in this Edition
Peaks and Troughs: Uneven Medication Coverage & ADHD
Telemental Health: Benefits and Potential Pitfalls
ADHD, Brain Balancing Music, and Mindfulness
Overcoming the Immunity to Intelligence
Engagement: Making Educational Content “Stick” Through Technology
Giftedness & ADHD: A Strengths-Based Perspective and Approach
Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Harness Fidgeting to Improve Focus
Itchy Tags, Bothersome Seams, and Tight Waistbands… Oh My!
Tips for Organizing Your Home (Webinar guest: Susan Pinsky)
Helping Students with ADHD in the Classroom (Webinar Guest: Sydney Zentall, PhD )
Questions About ADHD Medication
Compassionate, Trauma-Responsive Schools