How do you know if your child is highly sensitive? There’s no definitive checklist or sign that will give you absolute confirmation but there are common highly sensitive traits that many parents of highly sensitive children identify with.
If you recognise any of these 21 highly sensitive traits in your child you MAY well be raising a highly sensitive child.
21 Common Highly Sensitive Traits
- Your child often puts their hands over their ears to block out loud noises like sirens, alarms or DIY sounds.
- It’s common for your child to hide behind your legs in unknown or busy places.
- Your child is highly reactive to pain.
- Your child retreats to a quiet corner at a birthday party.
- There are inexplicable meltdowns after a school day.
- Your child takes time to warm up when in the company of others – even people they know well.
- Sleep is an issue. It started from birth.
- Your child is irritated by clothes tags, sock seams or ‘scratchy’ clothes.
- Your child notices the details: if you move something in your front room, your child knows it. If you change your perfume, your child remarks on it.
- A highly sensitive child cries or is visibly upset if another child cries. Your child is aware of another person’s discomfort.
- Does your child seems to prefer quiet games and enjoy their own company? Highly sensitives are happy to spend time alone.
- Your child is a picky eater and finds some textures and strong flavours unpalatable.
- A busy playground is not fun for your child. Whilst other children tear around from the slide to the swing to the climbing frame and back again, your child is standing at the side observing. A common highly sensitive trait is caution. It means assessing the situation thoroughly before jumping or climbing.
- Your child startles if you raise your voice at him.
- Your child has a strong sense of smell.
- Teachers have told you that your child is shy, quiet or sensitive.
- Grandparents tell you your child seems wise beyond her years.
- Your child has a perfectionist tendency.
- Your child is not keen to perform in front of strangers. They don’t do as well in tests given by strangers as they do in the company of familiar faces.
- Curiosity rules when it comes to your child. A HSC is immensely curious, constantly asking deep questions.
- Your child displays intense emotions.
My Child Has Highly Sensitive Traits. Now What?
These traits or behaviours are indicators and not absolutes.
Reading Tip: This list of highly sensitive traits could easily extend towards the hundred but once you have been through this list read 21 more ways to recognise a HSC.
If you think your child might be highly sensitive then head over to Elaine Aron’s site and do the Highly Sensitive Child test.
As she states, it could be that you can answer only one question positively, but that that positive answer is so true it indicates your child is highly sensitive.
The more you understand the traits of a highly sensitive child, the more you can support your child and help give them the tools to thrive in a world that generally overwhelms them.
And once you are certain your child is highly sensitive – then what? My number 1 tip is read The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron. Read it from cover to cover. Treat it as your parenting bible from here on in.
Over to You
Does anything on list list sound familiar? What would you add to the list of common highly sensitive traits?