My child won't wear short sleaves!

Erin - posted on 06/21/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My son is 4 and is pdd-nos and refuses to wear short sleaves snd it's driving me nuts. Last summer he wouldn't wear shorts which is fine but now he won't wear short sleave either. It's 100 degrees out today and we cant't even go to the beach because he refuses to wear short sleaves. I'm afaid he'll over heat.

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Diane - posted on 06/24/2012

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I live in Australia and we have long sleeved t shirts. They are thin like normal t shirts (round neck without banding or anything offensive to the kids). My son loves them. Admittedly,my son wont wear them on hot days but he likes the feel of them, and he is sensitive to the feel of clothes. I found that if the clothes, shoes, socks etc are smooth (no hard seams or bumps or rough bits) and they have a character that he likes on them (Ben 10, Transformers Bumble Bee) then he will always wear then. he wouldnt wear jackets with a zip, so I took a lovely jacket that he had that was green and put a big Ben 10 symbol on it, and he loved it. Now he will only wear jackets with a zip. In other words, things that they really really like may get them to overcome the aversion that they have. Most likely he likes the feel of the long sleeves and it doesnt feel right with short sleeves (they probably flap against his arms) so try singlets, muscle shirts or t shirts with fitted arms (girls tops are more fitted so you could maybe borrow one and try him around the house). Once you hit on the style he likes the feel of when its on and if it has some character he loves, he may wear it. BTW, I have a variety of Ben 10 things, jeans, t shirts, jacket, long sleeve t-shirt, short pj's, long pj's, and sandals. So gradually, my son has gotten used to a variety of styles of clothes, and now has other things like Toy Story shirt and jeans. And even just stuff with monkeys, dinosaurs (always a hit). He even now wears plain coloured things but his preference is for pictures. Another thing, he doesn like button up shirts and although will wear a polo shirt for school with buttons, he wont wear anything like that outside of school. So no shirts with buttons except for school. Works for me.

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Joni - posted on 10/05/2012

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Have you tried tank tops instead? Maybe the sleeve bother him? Its hard to say I know my 2 1/2 yr old has some of the same issues if the shirts just fit he don't like it but on the other hand if they are too big he don't like that either. We have the same issues with shoes they have to have just a little more than thumbs width longer or he won't leave them on. I would try to put tee on under his long sleeves while in a/c and boxer briefs under his pants while at home that way maybe come next summer it won't be such a big change going from long sleeve to short and pants to shorts. If your house is warm enough in the winter maybe try to let him wear boxer shorts and undershirt that's short sleeved around the house and to bed at night. You wouldn't believe some of the nonsense I've had to go through just to satisify my son. Best wishes

Sophia - posted on 09/29/2012

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go to the beach ... if he over heat... then you leave sit in the car with the AC then back to the beach.. dont know if you have other children but they also need to have a fun summer too. and what about you... off to the beach we go. someone sit in the car with him with the AC then back to the beach. sorry... but your family life with husband and other children need to be fun too.

Danielle - posted on 08/14/2012

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I can't remember if my son melted down over removing the clothes. My son is usually reasonable if we negotiate. He's been playing "let's make a deal" with me over everything since he began to talk (3yrs old). Sometimes it's worth the effort and the little meltdown to get through something. Maybe giving him a 1 day warning would help and then remove the clothes or put the short sleeves on top. (same with pants/shorts). Getting clothes he likes with characters and other pictures may help.

Deb - posted on 07/27/2012

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Lori~ No apology necessary...I completely understand the "mama bear" position. I tend to fill it too quickly myself at times.

I wish you and your family the best there is.

~Deb

Lori - posted on 07/26/2012

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Deb, I apologize for being so hostile, it just riled me up as we had numerous people suggest that we force my son to wear short sleeves. The same people, if given a chance, would push his sleeves up even though he was constantly pulling them back down. I'm glad you are a good advocate for your son and I'm sorry I said you weren't. I guess we all go mama bear sometimes unnecessarily.

Janessa - posted on 07/26/2012

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I didn't read all the replies but my son is the exact same way. However, he will wear sleeveless tops. So, I just cut all the sleeves off of his short sleeved shirts and made them "muscle" shirts. Now, he will wear them. Maybe you can give that a try?

Susan - posted on 07/24/2012

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My daughter has Sensory Integration Disorder and her sensory issues have included different types of clothes. May I ask if he would wear something sleeveless? If may be that feeling the short sleeve fluttering against the back of his arm is uncomfortable for him. It can be difficult for people who haven't been in this situation to understand.

My daughter was sleeping in a heavy-weight blanket sleeper last night. We just cranked the AC in her room down and turned on the fan. Other nights, she sleeps in a shirt and underwear. Nightgowns are a big issue with her - she can't stand the feeling of them fluttering against her legs/ankles.

Mandee - posted on 07/22/2012

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My daughter has PDD-NOS. If his reasons are sensory related, trust me, it isn't worth the fight. Either you will learn to ignore it or go insane. Instead, look into getting light weight shirts like linen or sheer fabric. Or look at getting long sleeved sports shirts, like what runners wear. They are a light weight material and help pull sweat away from the body. They are not cheap, but won't let him over heat like a long sleeve cotton t-shirt will.

If it is a defiance issue, then as a parent stand your ground and he will come around. However, a sensory issue is not one that simply standing your ground will remedy. I guess that to say you have to first figure out why he won't wear them.

Deb - posted on 07/21/2012

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To Lori Harris~ No need to "feel sorry" for my son. He is a very happy little boy. Nor do I ever "traumatize" him by forcing him to wear items of clothing!

I think, however, I owe an apology to you other moms out there. I should not have compared my son's personality and experiences to yours. I wasn't thinking that some kids will have meltdowns and tantrums and such over clothing issues due to their sensory issues.

Our son's sensory issues are mostly extremely loud noise or any baby or child crying. I guess in the grand scheme of things, we are lucky in that he has never had a meltdown, or indeed, a tantrum.

I am VERY sorry if I offended anyone. It was not my intent, I assure you. And might I add, I do in fact, jump through hoops for my little boy in other ways. I am his advocate and staunchest defender from in the classroom to the playground and everywhere in between.

I am, and will continue to be "firm" with him. It works for us. He improves steadily each and every day/year. I understand that he will never outgrow his autism / pdd nos, but he can lead a happy and full life nonetheless.

Danielle - posted on 07/20/2012

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my son had the same problem at that age. drove me crazy, until one day i took out of his drawer all his pants and long sleeve shirts and left all the shorts and short sleeve shirts. now (he's 7) and everything is in his drawer though he knows what to wear if it's hot or cold. btw, i did not let him see me remove the clothes. it was a little sneaky but it worked out.

Lisa - posted on 07/17/2012

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My 5 year old Aspie is very particular about his clothes and freaks out if I don't listen to his choices. So, I give him 2. He was very very resistant when we switched to "short pants" and sleaves and fought against it. However, we convinced him to give them a try and after a day of complaining and short bouts of tears, he realized that he was much more comfortable. And then, we went through the same thing with tank tops. However, we insist that he try them out and after a day or sometimes two, he adjusts. It's not easy to see him suffer during the transition but in the long run, it's best for him.

Lori - posted on 07/03/2012

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Deb, I feel sorry for your son. Your son didn't choose to be autistic. I sure as heck would jump through hoops for my kids if something assaulted their senses that much. Would you take an infant to a very loud rock concert without hearing protection? It's the same for kids with sensory issues, but with every day things. You have to help them get over it and acclimate, not traumatize them by forcing them to "deal."

Lori - posted on 07/03/2012

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The Children's Place has some lighterweight long sleeves, we stock up because my son didn't wear short sleeves for two years (and we live in the desert in AZ). He still prefers long sleeves but can wear short sleeves. We did baggy, light colored shirts or we used the athletic shirts, we got ours at Target. You could also try arm warmers and see if he can just wear them some of the time, we're doing that this year- I made him some out of ladies' knee socks. They are warmer than regular long sleeves, but they slide right on so easier to put on and remove and they work as a compromise for us. My son overheats easily, so we take water with us everywhere, try to stay in the shade or stay inside, etc.

Diane - posted on 06/28/2012

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Deb, it is not about what the child wants to wear. It is all about sensory issues. The trick with my son is to encourage him to wear things that he doesnt like (due to sensory issues) by using clothes with character items on them. Otherwise he wouldstill be running around naked. And it is not a question of being firm. My son can do a tantrum for at least an hour, and then he is off for the rest of the day. I have conditioned my son to wear the clothes I want for him, although sometimes it is not worth fighting him if he doesnt want to wear a heavy jacket and it is very cold. It took a lot of work, and being creative plus finding the style and feel of the clothes he found least offensive. Now, he gets dressed in his good clothers and goes and takes a look in the mirror to see if he is 'cool' or 'awesome'. He dresses appropriately and also now had his 'character' clothes as his good clothes instead of his everyday clothes.Our days of fighting over clothes are gone.

Erin - posted on 06/28/2012

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I think it's a scensory issue, Deb. He seems to get cold very easily. But then when it is hot like 100 degrees he'll complain that he's to hot and should be wearing a long sleeve to be cooler, I don't think he understands that would make him hotter. In the winter I have no problem, he'll wear whatever I pick out for him.

Deb - posted on 06/26/2012

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I don't know that I would jump thru all these hoops for a four year old. Now, b 4 anyone calls me heartless, let me just say that I think you'd be setting yourself up to give in to him from now on. My son is 6, PDD-NOS as related to Autism, and ADHD. If I left it up to him, he'd wear his Angry Birds T-shirts every day. Granted, that's not as difficult as one wanting to wear long sleeves in the summer. I have found that it always worked for me to simply be firm and tell the child that's not appropriate.

I have a friend who allows her son (same age) to wear whatever he wants to school. Oftentimes it is really inappropriate stuff and he is already being ostracized by the other kids. Indeed, a teacher once commented about it to me as well.

Believe me, pick their clothes out now and be firm, cause when they're teenagers, you will have a harder time if you don't set limits now. (I have a 21 and 19 year old as well)

Good luck!

Amber - posted on 06/22/2012

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It may help to look into the Wilbarger Brushing technique. It really seemed to help my son.

Katrina - posted on 06/22/2012

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Wow that's a tough one. For the beach, I suggest one of those long sleeved swim shirts. I wish I had more suggestions but I can't think of any. I hope this is just a season for your son, and that he is able to redirect onto something else.Good luck. The other mums have given great ideas!! All the best

Jennifer - posted on 06/22/2012

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Under Armor and similar companies make shirts that have a sweat wicking effect, drawing it away from your body. I see cyclists wear them a lot, and there are long and short sleeved versions. I live in MD, where Under Armor is headquartered, so finding the long sleeves is easy here. If you can't find any in your area you could go online. Order one and see if it works for him, and if so, order more. Maybe even eBay would have some of them. I hope it works out for you, especially with the monster heat wave happening right now!

Anaquita - posted on 06/22/2012

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Try places like Columbia, REI, maybe even Target (ask help, and explain why.) If you can't find any see if perhaps your son will be more apt to wearing short sleeves if he gets to help pick them out when you buy them. Get him interested in it, so that perhaps he'll realize change isn't so bad.

And perhaps if he's in some kind of behavioral/occupational therapy... work on the inability to deal with change. Granted he's only 4, but those on the spectrum tend to get more rigid as they get older. If you work on his flexibility now, it will help curtail it a bit.

My son used to be anti anything but blue jeans. I've gotten him out of the worst of that. He'll now wear cargo pants. and shorts. But if it's jeans, they still have to be blue. Heh.

Erin - posted on 06/22/2012

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He won't wear shorts either. Last year I bought summer pants whicch I will do this year. I do give him a choice but he throws a fit if he can't wear the long sleaves. I've never seen summer long sleave but I will look. He ended up wearing the short sleaves yesterday but it was a struggle. He just hates the change so much.

Anaquita - posted on 06/21/2012

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You could do what Jennifer suggests. Giving him a limited choice. I avoid the problem by just laying out what my son will wear for the day, myself. As long as I don't try to give him black pants, he's happy.

There is lightweight summer long sleeve shirts and pants available. Those meant for hot weather, and as a natural sunscreen, instead of the stuff you rub into the skin. So not only your son could wear long sleeves, but less of a worry of sunburn.

Jennifer - posted on 06/21/2012

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My son has recently decided that he doesn't want to wear certain shirts. He wants to wear things that don't match at all, like blue shorts with a black and orange thermal shirt.
I have started to give him options instead of just putting the shirt I want on him. I give him 2 to 4 choices, laying them out and letting him feel the material of each. So far, it works, but as you know that could very well change tomorrow!

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