Early Years: Smelling (olfactory) differences

Strategies to support a child or young person who may have a strong aversion to smells or seeks smells out.

Children may have a strong aversion to smells or indeed seek smells out.

Strategies and approaches:

  • Staff recognise the positive impact that recognising and planning for children’s sensory differences and needs have on children’s learning and emotional well-being.
  • Set up a ‘no scent’ zone, free from air fresheners, flowers, perfumes etc.
  • Staff should consider the perfume/ aftershave and other products that have a smell that they wear.
  • Consider if the cleaning materials have a strong smell.
  • Provide scented playdough, pens and toys to support sensory seeking.
  • Allow the child opportunities to bake and cook to create different smells.
  • Staff are aware of smells from the outdoor environment e.g. refuse collection and these are mitigated where possible.