Highly sensitive children like structure and find comfort in the familiar. They operate best when they are in an environment they know and with people they are accustomed to being with. So what happens when you pull them out of their trusted environment? Like a change of school? Or a house move? Highly sensitive children would fall apart right?
Speaking from personal experience.
This summer we moved from one side of the Netherlands to the other. We moved to a place we have no connections with. We knew no one.
My three highly sensitive children not only moved house, but obviously started at a new school too. Suddenly, from one day to the next, every aspect of their lives was new. Everything turned upside down, mixed up – and surprisingly, astonishingly, they came out the other side smiling. Happier than before even.
Why? Because although sometimes change is hard, really hard, sometimes it’s also necessary and for the best.
My boys were in big classes in a busy school environment where they were just trying to survive and were certainly not blooming. Every time they played out in our street they were shouted out or told off by one grumpy neighbour or another. They often came back home in tears or under a storm cloud of frustration and anger.
Space was limited.
Population density was a real issue.
Greenery was disappearing from our environment.
It was big town life.
The truth is none of us were blossoming there.
My husband’s contract ended at his job in The Hague so he started looking for a new one – and we saw the opportunity to make a change. A really massive, ‘turn life upside down’ change.
We went rural. We opted for more living space. We chose more green and less concrete. We selected a small village school with less children in the entire school than in the three classes my sons were in in their former school.
We involved the children every step of the way.
They saw the new house on a couple of occasions.
They picked out which rooms would be their bedrooms.
They had two days at their new school in July before the end of the last school year – so they knew what to expect. They loved it so went into the summer vacation with a positive feeling about the new school year they would start in August.
They helped pack up their rooms.
We read books together about moving.
They chose the decor of their new rooms.
We explored the village together before we moved.
We researched clubs for after school activities.
We met our direct neighbours.
We said our goodbyes.
In short, we prepared the boys in every way we could think of for the house move and for the new school.
Did they fall apart when we moved?
Nope, not in the slightest.
My children have surprised me. Yes, we have had bad days. We’ve had tears. We’ve had meltdowns. But we’ve had cuddles and mutterings of ‘I’m glad we moved mama,’ and we’ve had moments of disbelief sitting around a camp fire in our own garden that we really do actually live HERE. This is not a vacation. This is our new life.
And along the way we’ve learnt that highly sensitives can deal with major change thrown their way, with the right preparation and for the right reasons.
Don’t be afraid to uproot and replant your highly sensitive children – they may just blossom and thrive in unexpected ways!