It’s Not Always Easy Being the Parent of a Highly Sensitive Child

Being the parent of a highly sensitive child (HSC) can be exhausting. You have to be one step ahead, constantly thinking about events coming up, planning days so as to avoid sensory overload for your child, learning what to say no to.

It's Not Always Easy Being the Parent of a Highly Sensitive ChildMy eldest HSC is at his best when there’s a routine to stick to and things are predictable. That means not letting him stay up later to celebrate an uncle’s birthday twenty kilometers from home – and shielding him from the criticism that generates.

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How to Help a Highly Sensitive Child Sleep

A child’s bedtime is for many parents a highlight. That moment when your child falls exhausted into bed and drifts off peacefully to dream land within minutes, giving you a few hours well earned rest before you follow suit. Except for many parents of highly sensitive children (HSC) this bedtime scenario is far from reality. For many parents of HSCs bedtime is a disaster zone and a routine that lasts hours. HSCs struggle with transitions and bedtime is a huge one! So how you can help a HSC settle at night and get a good night’s sleep?

The Importance of Sleep

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Mother’s Day Journal Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and a mother son or mother daughter journal is a great gift idea, particularly for the highly sensitives out there who benefit from sharing using the written word.

One of my favourite journal creators has two journals that make perfect gifts for mother’s day (and every other occasion too!).

You can grab a journal from Amazon.co.uk (click on the images below)

     

Or Amazon.com (click on the images below)

    

Or you can order Between Me and Mom (Mother and Son) from Gadanke.com

Gadanke Between Mom and Me | Happy Sensitive Kids

And Love, Mom and Me from Gadanke.

Love, Mom and Me Mother daughter journal

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Aiden Finds a Way: Book Review 

Sometimes children just need a little time to warm up to a new environment and adjust to the hustle and bustle of a place. That’s what Aiden Finds a Way is about, another beautiful My Quiet Adventures story book that has been written with highly sensitive children in mind.

Available on Amazon.com

The Story

Aiden has a day out at the local fire station planned and is excited. However, once he is at the fire house he finds he is overwhelmed by the busyness and noise of the sirens and other children. He’s reluctant to join in and instead wanders off to find a quiet place where he can sit alone. There he meets an unexpected friend who perhaps feels even more uncomfortable than he does.

Aiden Finds a Way Book Reviews | Happy Sensitive Kids

What We Thought of Aiden Finds a Way

Just like All Too Much for Oliver, this book is beautifully illustrated with subtle, relaxing tones. Emotions ooze out of every page you turn.

All three of my sons enjoyed reading the story (aged 5 – 10) and my youngest was particularly charmed by Aiden’s adventures as he immediately recognised himself in Aiden’s reaction to all the noise and hustle of the fire station. He declared that he too likes to take quiet time away when he is in a busy place.

 

Aiden Finds a Way Book Review | Happy Sensitive Kids

And therein lies the beauty of the My Quiet Adventures books: highly sensitive children see themselves in the characters and situations and it makes them smile and feel reassured there is nothing unusual in how they feel in certain situations.

This is a story book that every young highly sensitive child should have on their book shelf.

Watch out for an ‘Aiden Finds a Way’ giveaway soon on the Happy Sensitive Kids blog!

 

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Highly Sensitive People and Travel

Traveling is exciting, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming if you are a highly sensitive person (HSP). If you are highly sensitive you already know why. If you are not highly sensitive then seeing a travel experience through a HSP’s eyes is certainly worth trying. And if you are the parent of a highly sensitive child (HSC) then seeing traveling from your child’s stance will certainly help you support your child on your next trip.

The possibility of overstimulation in airports, stations, ferry ports and in traffic is phenomenal. Everything is new, unknown and busy.

I realised lately just how traveling impacts me and why I have become so reluctant to venture far on a plane in recent years.

Highly Sensitive People and Travel

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Long Hat is A Hero: Book Review

The ‘Long Hat is a Hero’ book has been reviewed by Nicola over at Simply Homemade. I’m so delighted to read such a lovely review of a book that is incredibly special to me.

Long Hat is a Hero

“I must admit, I love this book. As a parent to a highly sensitive child, this book gives great insight to the feelings of the child and will also be instrumental for me when it comes to explaining High Sensitivity to my youngest children.”

You can read the whole post here: Long Hat is A Hero and read more about my involvement with Long Hat here. You can get your own copy of the book here

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Highly Sensitive Children and After School Activities

Many highly sensitive children don’t meet society’s expectations when it comes to activities outside of school, particularly boys. Many aren’t keen to jump in on the football field or show off their talents on the stage. Many prefer solo sports over team sports. Many err more towards keeping a low profile and don’t like to perform in front of others. If you play, however, to the strengths of a highly sensitive child you may just find that they blossom beyond your wildest dreams.

Highly Sensitive Children and After School Activities

The mismatch of activity to a HSC is the reason why so many parents of highly sensitive children face an unexpected drama in the local swimming pool or battle with a child to get a judo suit on in the changing room. It’s a common issue in the HSK community.

I’ve done both. It wasn’t pretty.

The idea of judo was something that my HSC was enthusiastic about. The actual partaking in a judo lesson was another story entirely. I tried twice and gave up. Over the years we have talked about joining a football club. Hockey maybe? What about athletics? Or perhaps a chess club? All met with ‘nice idea but…..’

Each activity required my son to perform in some way or another, with the potential to let his team mates down in some cases, or be the source of judgement in others. The activities just weren’t the right fit.

He now does archery and piano lessons. He has to perform for himself only (and the piano teacher) and there is no one counting on him. If it goes wrong, he starts the piece of music again or simply shoots another arrow. The only competition is himself. And for now that is what he wants – and needs. The one time his archery lesson comprised of a ‘friendly competition’ he hated it.

My six year old, on the other hand, has no qualms in getting up on stage for a solo performance in a reading competition. It makes me smile and I embrace his courage. My eldest wouldn’t get up on stage for all the Pokemon cards in the land. And I won’t push him to do it.

My middle son cannot wait to join the local football club. He’s good at football and he’s happy about playing in a team. He has the confidence and passion about the sport to sign up for a team. He has signed up for a school korfbal tournament. He’s also a HSC but different to his brother.

As parents we have played to their strengths and are letting them decide their path when it comes to activities outside of school. We have not pushed (except to get through swimming lessons where we certainly gave gentle nudges, given that we live in a country with waterways at every turn) but helped them fathom out why they want to do one activity over another one.

We learnt early on that physical team activities probably weren’t a match for our eldest. We also learnt that being in the spotlight was not for him either. So we helped him look at other possibilities and eventually he chose something he wanted to try: archery and piano.

So, if your HSC hates team sports look for a solo sport – like archery.

If your HSC likes the idea of a team sport but is horrified at the idea of a physical sport where she could get hurt think beyond traditional options.

If your HSC loves doing an activity but doesn’t want to compete, see if they can join a club and play for fun only.

If they love the idea of performing, but not for a big audience, find a small class.


If your HSC loves music but is uneasy in a group look for a music teacher who gives solo lessons or dual sessions. (I take piano lessons at the same time as my eldest son. Whilst reading The Artist’s Way (UK link – see picture for US link) I realised I would love to play piano so we signed up together. Win win!)

If your child is creative think about photography or cooking.

If your child loves swimming but hates her swimming lessons consider why. Is it too busy? Too noisy? Too much pressure to perform? Once you know why you can find a class or a pool that is better suited for your child – or simply supply your HSC with the tools to cope.

See beyond the drama in the changing room, or the reluctance to go to a sport club or join a team and ask why. What it is about the activity that makes your HSC uncomfortable?

It’s also worth mentioning that HSCs find outside school activities easier to do as they get older. If your 4 year old is enthusiastic about dancing but won’t co-operate in her dance lesson don’t lose sleep about it. Simply wait a year or two and try again. There is so much pressure to get children into activities at such a young age but there really shouldn’t be. They’ll let you know when they are ready.

We have chosen not to force my sons to undertake activities they are not wholly comfortable with. Children don’t need to be something they are not. If they suck at a sport, try something else. Life is hard enough as it is without having to go through it pretending.

My job as a parent of HSC is to help them acquire the tools to help them feel comfortable exploring beyond their boundaries. My hope for all three of my sons is that their lives will, I hope, be based on their authentic strengths and their real passions – and not what others think they should enjoy.

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