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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How to Help a Highly Sensitive Child Who Feels Different

Highly sensitive children typically stand out from other children, even if they don’t want or intend to. By nature they are different, and it is noticeable. The problem is that many highly sensitive children are uncomfortable feeling different.

As the parents of these amazing children it’s important to teach our highly sensitive children (HSCs) that standing out from the crowd takes courage but that being or feeling different is ok. In fact, it’s more than ok.

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Mindfulness and Your Highly Sensitive Child

“The word mindfulness has become somewhat of a buzzword recently. This is partly because of the rapidly-growing body of research suggesting that practicing mindfulness regularly has physical, as well as psychological benefits,” explains Kate Berger, child and adolescent psychologist.

Mindfulness and Your Highly Sensitive ChildDue to these positive benefits, most children who develop mindfulness skills early on will have an advantage in their later years, as life becomes more complicated. This is especially true of the Highly Sensitive Child (HSC).

What is Mindfulness?

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Parenting Highly Sensitive Children: 10 Cold Hard Facts

Parenting a highly sensitive child is easy. Said no parent ever. The truth is that raising a highly sensitive child (HSC) can be a challenging journey and parents stumble upon issues that parents of non-highly sensitives do not face.

Parenting Highly Sensitive Children: 10 Cold Hard FactsLike these ten things.

  1. You’ll question yourself many times over – is highly sensitive really a thing or did I invent it to make sense of my child?
  2. You’ll blame yourself – is my child so sensitive because of me? Did I make my child sensitive with my parenting style?
  3. You’ll become an excellent planner. You’ll plan, plan and then plan some more to help your child avoid feeling constantly overstimulated.
  4. You’ll be in and out of your child’s classroom and school principal’s office. The school counsellor’s office will feel like a second home.
  5. Your friends and family will judge you and you will tire of explaining your child’s personality.
  6. You are your child’s best, and often only, advocate.
  7. You’ll always need to build in a get out clause when you say yes to events or activities.
  8. Your child’s teacher will believe your HSC is a model pupil and will be remarkably surprised to learn about the fiery meltdowns at home after a busy school day.
  9. Your HSC needs lots of downtime, but what they want and what they need do not always match. You will learn to pick your battles carefully.
  10. Your HSC will, more often than not, focus on the negatives and you will spend a lot of time trying to bring the positives into focus.

One thing you should know is that you are not alone in this parenting journey. You should also know that there are so many amazing aspects to raising highly sensitive children – and it does get easier the more you know, the more you accept and the more you show your child know that they have your unconditional love.


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Reducing Noise in Sports Halls to Help a Highly Sensitive Child

Sports halls are large spaces where noise reverberates and activity is everywhere you look. There is equipment stashed away in all corners and so much to see. And gym halls have their own unique sense of smells too. It’s sensory overload for a highly sensitive child.

Reducing Noise in Sports Halls to Help a Highly Sensitive ChildOverstimulation On Gym Days

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