It’s that time of year again folks – resolutions time! So whilst you are busy anyway here are some tips that could help you parent your highly sensitive child this year.
1. Accept Your Highly Sensitive Child As They Are
This is probably the most beneficial resolution you could make when it comes to raising a highly sensitive child. Accepting your child as he or she is (frustrations and all – we’ve all battled to get out the house on time for an appointment whilst having a discussion about scratchy socks with a child who would prefer to stay home or tried logical reasoning with a child who refuses to attend his friend’s birthday party) is essential.
Highly sensitive is what it is. You can add coping tools to your child’s tool kit but you won’t change the innate personality of your child – and hopefully you don’t want to.
So accept your HSC, exactly as they are.
2. Stop Beating Yourself Up
Parenting is hard. Parenting a HSC can be demanding. It takes a lot out of you – everything you have to give in fact. As mothers we are good at beating ourselves up when things don’t go as we’d like, particularly if you’re highly sensitive yourself, and a perfectionist to boot.
Remember that okay is good enough. Your best is good enough.
Hold your child tight, give them a kiss and a cuddle and move on. Tomorrow is another day, another chance to be your best self.
Don’t over schedule, clutter, make life more complicated than it needs to be. The simpler things are the happier your HSC will be. HSCs are overwhelmed by too much choice, too much activity, too much sensory input.
In this case, simple is good.
4. Keep it Positive
HSC’s are their own worse critics and can easily dissolve into negative self talk; a day can be seen as ‘disastrous’ because of one minor mishap or incident.
Make it a point to help your HSC focus on the positives. This doesn’t mean denying the negative things that happen but rather not allowing your child to dwell too long on them. You could try a compliment book – simply a notebook that you capture a great thing your child has done that day – it has worked wonders in our home.
So, in short, make 2017 about looking on the bright side.
5. Quality Over Quantity
This is a good resolution to make for all the family. It’s not about how much but more about how good it is. This applies to activities, appointments, interactions and friendships.
A common discussion point in the Happy Sensitive Kids community is about the difficulties HSCs have making friends. One or two close friends is much more important to many HSCs than a big group to hang around with. In fact, this often applies to highly sensitive adults too.
Help your child foster quality over quantity.
6. Open Your Ears
Listen to your HSC. Really listen. Leave the chores undone. Put down your phone or tablet. Let your child know they have your complete and dedicated attention. A HSC needs to feel listened to and understood.
7. Understand Your Child’s Bucket
The more you understand what fills your child’s bucket and how it gets emptied, the easier it is to help your child before they become overwhelmed.
There’s a free printable bucket activity to help you understand what triggers overwhelm and overstimulation for your child on the Happy Sensitive Kids blog here.
Understanding the exact nature of your HSC’s overwhelm will help you plan and avoid situations likely to cause a meltdown.
I wish you all a happy, fun 2017 filled with smiles and love!