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 popular as a parent. However, it’s a discussion point that constantly comes up in the HSK community. – how to help a HSC that is distracted or even upset by the classmate sitting next to them.

It’s a conversation I’ve had with different teachers on a regular basis. My child has come home so frustrated after sitting the whole day with a child that talks constantly to themselves, or hums continuously, or nudges him repeatedly to get attention whilst he’s concentrating. All sounds like little things but for a HSC it’s unbearable. Most teachers were open to swapping my child around to accommodate the need for a quieter place in the classroom. But it is something I have continually had to flag over the years – repeatedly even with the same teacher.

How Class Seating Arrangements Effect A Highly Sensitive Child

I know that class seating plans are a complicated affair. The seating arrangements contribute heavily to the class atmosphere, influences social interaction between children and even learning achievements. I certainly wouldn’t like to be the one trying to put it all together every time there is a seating change (which in the schools we’ve been in seems to be often) but when a child comes home and begins with tears and a heap of frustration then stepping in is inevitable.

Where a HSC optimally sits in a class is also a complicated affair and incredibly dependent on their individual traits. So it’s certainly a balancing act for the teacher to get the best out of their students.

The fact is that most HSCs are conscientious and don’t need to be prodded to get their work done, but if they cannot concentrate because of a talkative or hyperactive classmate next to them then stress takes over.

Not only are their buckets filled more quickly, but they also worry about not getting their school work done and getting into trouble with the teacher.

A busy classroom is a difficult enough place for a HSC to be, without having constant activity directly seated next to them. A HSC needs quiet moments (bucket emptying moments) to get through a school day and so their seating partner is important.

I’ve heard teachers explaining that they seated a HSC next to someone to balance out a more lively child, or bring the quieter HSC out of themselves. Or so that a HSC can help another child. From personal experience, and from chatter in the HSK community, this is not a strategy that works with a highly sensitive child. In fact, sometimes it works so detrimentally that a HSC no longer wants to come to school.

Or they come home from school drained and we parents are left to pick up the pieces.

Last Word

So if your HSC is consistently coming home from school wiped out, overwhelmed or upset, or suddenly loses enthusiasm for school, perhaps look at where they are sitting and who they are sitting with. A little tweak may make all the difference.

Over to You: Have you had issues in school because of seating arrangements? Have teachers been open to making changes?



About Amanda van Mulligen

Mother, writer, author, blogger. Born British, Living Dutch. I have three Dutch sons and a Dutch husband and I blog about Turning Dutch and raising highly sensitive children.
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4 Responses to Please Don’t Seat My Highly Sensitive Child Next to a Noisy Child

  1. HSP Mom and HSP Child says:

    Hello; My HSC came home 3 days in a row w/o eating lunch. When I asked, it seemed a new seating arrangement had been made. The child next to mine ate egg salad for lunch. My child has an aversion to eggs and could not eat due to the smell most people don’t notice. When I shared the situation with the teacher, she moved them the next day. My child and I were so relieved at the prompt and understanding actions of this teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We went through this last year and luckily, after a bit of a struggle, we managed to get him seated next to kids who were less distracting. It’ sad that issues with such simple and straightforward solutions have to be so unnecessarily complicated.


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