Highly Sensitive Children Don’t Fit the Mould – And They Shouldn’t Have To

Many highly sensitive children don’t behave like other children and certainly don’t always meet society’s expectations of them. Coming up with creative compromises that play to a highly sensitive child’s (HSC) strengths is a large part of parenting a HSC. And it’s an essential element of raising a child that is happy and confident with who they are.

Highly Sensitive Children Don't Fit the Mould - And They Shouldn't Have ToModern Day Childhood

These days children are under pressure to do as many outside school activities as possible to give them a step up for their future. Children, particularly boys, are expected to enjoy team sports. Continue reading

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Why Movies and Television Shows Affect a Highly Sensitive Child

Finding appropriate movies or TV shows to let a highly sensitive child (HSC) watch is a common problem for parents of HSCs. Often a HSC will find a movie too frightening or emotional to be able to enjoy it, resulting in tears and a half watched show. There’s a reason why.

Why Movies and Television Shows Affect a Highly Sensitive Child

Films & TV Shows Are a Common Problem for HSCs

If I had a euro for every time I had to cut short a TV program or a film over the years whilst my three sons were watching I would have a bulging purse.

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Helping a Highly Sensitive Child Understand Their Emotions

As the parent of a highly sensitive child you are likely used to regular meltdowns and bursts of frustration from your child. You are also likely used to hearing “I don’t know” when you ask what is wrong. Helping a child understand their emotions will help them put their feelings into words, and in turn help them express them in less a dramatic manner.

Helping a Highly Sensitive Child Understand Their EmotionsWhy Children Need Help Recognising Emotions

My two youngest children recently had a student teacher helping out in their class. He taught a few lessons on the topic of emotions, using emoticons to help the children understand their feelings and which emotions belong with certain facial expressions.

Understanding visual cues of emotions is something that we, as adults, almost take for granted – particularly highly sensitive adults who read emotions well. We can recognise then someone feels angry, or worried, or upset or happy. But for children it can be extremely confusing to understand visual signals for different emotions.

At least that is what I came to realise when my 7 year old told me about what he had learned in one of the lessons about emotions. They were shown different emoticons and had to link emotions to each one – and then draw their own. It was insightful not just for my son, but for me too.

My seven year old is a master at uttering “I don’t know” when he is clearly overwhelmed, angry or upset and asked to try and explain what he is feeling.

I had spent a fair bit of time using emoticon cards I had made with my eldest, but I hadn’t done the same with my two youngest. And so that’s now on the agenda.

A HSC and Intense Emotions

A highly sensitive child is often scared or surprised by their own intense reaction to something. My children sometimes react with a fiery anger to a situation that seems decidedly low key or harmless – it is a shocking response to say the least.

If I start scratching below the surface there is a host of emotions at play, battling for top spot: tired, scared, fear of doing something because it seems too difficult, sad, confused, embarrassed, too busy in their head with the day’s events. But all those emotions, especially when they are mixed together, are hard for a young child to identify, label and understand.

Using Emotion Cue Cards

Using cue cards can clarify emotions for a child and help them understand what they are feeling. And that can help a child process their emotions more effectively instead of hitting out, slamming a door or screaming in frustration. They are more able to link how they are feeling to a specific event or series of incidents.

If you are on Pinterest there are a few links on my Highly Sensitive Board to help make your own emotion cue cards.

Naming an Emotion Helps

A common example in our home is when my husband has to go on a business trip. I brace myself for days or weeks that are more stormy than others as far as the emotions of my sons go. There will be inexplicable outbursts and tears where it seems to the boys that nothing goes right – until I suggest that maybe they are missing their papa. The penny drops and they can give their emotion a name and understand why they feel sad. A call or a FaceTime session later with papa and they feel calmer and happier.

Incidentally the film Inside Out is a great movie for discussing emotions.

 

Final Words

Incidentally, the student teacher said his farewells to the class – and my son made him this:

Help a Highly Sensitive Child understand their Emotions

A job well done by the student teacher wouldn’t you say?

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The Importance of Routines for Highly Sensitive Children

Having a routine in place helps most children cope more easily with day to day life, but for a highly sensitive child (HSC) it is even more important to have familiar routines in place to help them visualise what is coming up and what they need to do.

Why are Routines Important for a Highly Sensitive Child?

Ever notice that your HSC seems to be more overwhelmed than normal by their school days around Christmas?

Have you noticed the impact of an upcoming holiday has on your HSC? Or a birthday, or school trip?

The Importance of Routines for Highly Sensitive ChildrenDo you see a negative reaction from your HSC as they enter their classroom and there’s a replacement teacher standing in front of the class?

Things out of the ordinary routine tend to affect HSCs in a notable and visible way. When life deviates from the routine that they are comfortable with, and expect, it has an impact.

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Village or Town – Which is Best for a Highly Sensitive Child?

A rural village or a busy town? Does it matter where a highly sensitive child (HSC) grows up? It’s important to consider the role their living environment plays in daily life.

It was a question posed in the Happy Sensitive Kids community – do HSCs cope better with village life than living in a big town? Some people are clearly city folk, others prefer a more rural setting. It’s a topic I have personal experience of as I have parented HSCs in both environments.

Moving to a Village

Last summer we moved from a town with a population of around 125,000 to a village of 750 people, give or take a few. We moved from one of the most densely populated provinces of the Netherlands to one of the least. We moved out of a built up area to a rural community.

Has it made a difference for my three HSCs?

In short, yes.

Village or Town - Which is Best for a Highly Sensitive Child?Has it been the miracle answer that made life perfect?

Of course not. Continue reading

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8 Tips for Moving House with a Highly Sensitive Child

Moving house is a big step for all children – and parents too – but for a highly sensitive child (HSC) the wrench away from the familiar and trusted environment to a new unknown place can hit particularly hard. We moved from one side of the Netherlands to the other last summer and I prepared my sons as much as I could before we actually relocated.

Here are some tips that helped our HSCs with a big house move.

8 Tips for Moving House with a Highly Sensitive Child1. Look After Yourself

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Please Don’t Seat My Highly Sensitive Child Next to a Noisy Child

Distracted by the slightest noise and movement, because every sound and movement is magnified for a highly sensitive child (HSC), my children often need as much quiet around them in the classroom as possible. So seating them next to a noisy kid in class really doesn’t help them.

Please Don't Seat My Highly Sensitive Kid Next to a Noisy KidDifficult Discussions About Class Seating

That’s a message that may not go down well with some.  You may not make yourself Continue reading

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