When Sensory and Anxiety Collide

I was hoping Jaylin’s anxiety wouldn’t be too big of a deal and I’ve slowly been introducing her to new things to help her. She started gymnastics a few months ago and while at first she was scared of things, she has come around and has really come out of her shell. So when football and cheer leading sign ups come, I asked if she wanted to do it and she did, she was excited about it. Then come cheer camp…we walked into the gym and it was full of little girls and she shut down…she wouldn’t leave my side and then she went into sensory overload and didn’t like her shoes, said they were too tight and the tears started. I tried my best to be there for her while I was holding Justin and trying to keep track of Jaxon walking around. I finally spotted a little girl who was in Jaylin’s kindergarten class and pointed her out, that didn’t work and a couple other coaches tried to get her to participate, I couldn’t stay because I had to go get Jeffery from a friend who was dropping him off from karate to football practice and I had his gear. I was able to get her to stand in line and she understood I was leaving for a few minutes. By the time I got back she was sitting on the side with her shoes off. I was told she started crying again (I did make sure someone had my cell number in case they needed me I was only about 2min up the road) but she was quiet when I got there.

Jaylin, almost 6 years old and going into 1st grade soon!

First day, disaster…second day, not so bad. She got in line with the little girl I had pointed out the day before and was actually participating the whole time. The end of the time she was told she was on the Tigers (not the team her brother is on like we were originally told) Neither of us were very happy but apparently they are different divisions and they couldn’t move her up. I was told she would have practice in 2 days. That day come and Jaylin flipped out…she was NOT happy…both pair of tennis shoes she has she didn’t want to wear…yet she wanted to go to practice. I would have been fine if she just told me she didn’t want to go, the coach for her team is VERY stern and I didn’t think Jaylin would do well with her. I saw disaster written all over it. In the end, we never got out of the house to practice. She cried, I cried. This was something she had been talking about for so long yet she couldn’t process everything to even pick a pair of shoes (one is a new pair that I know isn’t too tight).

Now, she talks about cheer leading and asks when she gets to cheer Jeffery’s team…she still don’t quite understand. After the meltdown about practice I spoke with someone with the league and let them know she wouldn’t be coming to any of the practices and that I couldn’t bear to put her (or even me) through that again. Now we go to Jeffery’s games and she just plays with her little brothers. Some days she’s fine with it, and others she seems sad. I don’t even know how she’s going to react when she sees cheer leaders start cheering during games (so far we’ve only had practices and scrimmages). I do feel bad for her, she’s only in gymnastics and girl scouts where Jeffery has karate, boy scouts and right now football. We tried t-ball and she didn’t care for that, this year we decided to skip baseball/tball for both the kids in exchange for football and cheer.

I guess we will try again next year when I know she’ll be able to cheer her brother’s team and possibly be more relaxed about everything. Her anxiety has been getting worse, she refuses to go to a bathroom by herself that isn’t at home and I’m hoping that she’ll be fine in school like she was last year. I’ve been thinking of going to talk to her doctor on what they suggest. School starts in a little over a week and I’m worried how she’ll transition into 1st grade. I know Jeffery had a rough time of that transition and he don’t have anxiety. Maybe I worry too much.

When do your kids go back to school? Are they excited? Are you excited? Nervous?

About Jackie

Jackie is a stay at home mom to five wonderful children, 4 boys and a girl ages from infant to 10 years old. Her life is anything but calm, most days it's pure mayhem. You can follow her on twitter @monkey_mayhem
Jackie Staples


  1. Marla Bland says:

    Don’t feel bad about her not being in the same number of activities as her brother. Each child is different and while some feel a need to be included in everything, others are just as happy not doing so many activities. You are doing fine by her. When she wants to cheer or any other activity, you will know it’s the right time.

  2. That’s so hard! Good luck, and keep following her lead.

  3. Hang in there even when it feels like you want to commit yourself lol. You are doing what you can to help your children, and as frustrating as it must be, you need to remain collected for them. You also need to take time for yourself even though your children need you a lot.

  4. Give her time! She will be out of that shell in no time at all! Good luck!

  5. My kids aren’t in school yet.. I’m not sure if I will be happy or sad when they go! Probably a little of both. I hope I can deal with situations as well as you do!

  6. Richard Hicks says:

    Constantly reassure her. It will go a long way. I remember my 1st grade experience and was petrified.

  7. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    My daughter is older and suffers anxiety. It’s so hard, I understand the stress.

  8. Lisa Ellis says:

    Aww…poor thing. I was really shy as a child – i still am but it’s gotten much better. My parents put me in dance classes and i really loved it as a kid and the groups were relatively small.

  9. Molly Bussler says:

    Awww so sweet and sad. My little sister wants to try cheerleading, but she gets so frustrated when she can’t do a cartwheel very good, I told her practice is the best thing to do.

  10. Sandy VanHoey says:

    My grandson started back to school Aug 1. The month before, he was nervous and didn’t want to go at all. He was in Pre-K last year. We really talked it up and he started doing better. He’d rather not go to school if he had his choice. You are a very busy lady with 3 little ones and trying to be here, there and everywhere. I think I’d be ready to cry myself.

  11. Vickie Couturier says:

    baby steps,we went thru this with my grandson,,its hard but you know,they will survive,,an someday wont even remember this ,even though you will,,praying for you I know its hard

  12. Sherrie C. says:

    Poor little thing 🙁 Social anxiety can be such a difficult thing to deal with at any age. I’m forty and still occasionally suffer from social anxiety and I’m just thankful my boys didn’t inherit my anxiety disorder. I really hope things get better over time for her and for you.

  13. Jessica Hornibrook says:

    What a tough situation. It sounds like she desperately wants to be involved but it breaks her. I have a relative like that and he just takes it slow.

    I wish you all the best!

  14. Oh Im am so sorry you’re dealing with this. I have social anxiety, so I can imagine how she feels. If I have to go around large groups of people I dont know, it literally feels like Im going to implode. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just don’t push(not that you are) because it will only get worse. A couple of my kids are kind of like her, and I always just take it slow and follow their lead. Good luck and (((hugs)))