Sarah often noticed her daughter, Emma, covering her ears at loud noises or becoming visibly anxious in crowded places. When she started school, Emma would come home drained and exhausted, even on routine days for other kids.
At a parent-teacher meeting, her teacher mentioned that Emma might be a highly sensitive child.
Sarah was initially confused, but after researching, she realized the descriptions fit Emma perfectly. She learned that she could better support her daughter’s unique way of experiencing the world with understanding and adjustments.
Being highly sensitive isn’t a weakness. It’s a different way of processing the world around us. Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) often have keen perceptions, noticing subtleties that others might miss.
While they might be overwhelmed by some situations, they can truly thrive with the right approach and support.
According to Psychology Today, it’s estimated that 15 – 20 percent of people are highly sensitive. Chances are, you’ve encountered a highly sensitive person or even have one close to you in your life.
Understanding the Traits of a Highly Sensitive Child
A highly sensitive child (HSC) is keenly attuned to their environment, often more so than their peers. They can easily become overwhelmed in loud and busy settings.
While they might seem shy or introverted, they’re just more aware of their surroundings and feelings. They often spot small changes, like someone’s facial expressions or the way someone speaks, that others might miss.
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17 Ways to Support Your Highly Sensitive Child
#1 Stay Patient With Their Decisions
Highly sensitive children often take longer to decide and understand their feelings. It’s vital to show patience and let them move at a speed that’s comfortable for them.
#2 Assist in Avoiding Stressful Triggers
Identifying what stresses your child and helping them avoid or handle those situations can make a big difference. Whether it’s too much noise or a jam-packed schedule, you can look for ways to make their environment more calming.
#3 Respect Their Alone Time
Every so often, highly sensitive kids need some personal space. If they want to be alone, it’s usually because they need to relax and recharge.
Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about what they need to feel balanced.
#4 Encourage Relaxing Activities
Find activities that help your child feel at peace. It could be reading a book, taking walks in the park, or listening to soft music.
These hobbies can be their safe haven when things get overwhelming.
Try one of these 54 Calming Activities for Kids.
#5 Celebrate Their Unique Strengths
Remember, being sensitive also means they’re often very empathetic, imaginative, and insightful. Encourage them to view these traits as their superpowers, not something to be shy about.
#6 Choose Kind Words
Nobody likes harsh words. Highly sensitive kids can feel hurt easily, even if you’re trying to help.
It’s important to speak kindly and be careful with your tone. You don’t have to avoid challenging topics. Just make sure you’re gentle about it.
#7 Listen Well
Sensitive children love to listen and feel understood. Make sure you’re listening more than you’re talking.
Let them share their feelings and thoughts. Let them guide the chat.
#8 Avoid Too Much Chaos
Loud noises, big crowds, or lots of stuff happening can quickly make a sensitive child feel lost or stressed.
If things seem too much, try making it quieter or calmer for them. Turn down the music, or find a peaceful spot to chat.
#9 Be Their Biggest Supporter
Sensitive children have deep feelings and need to know you’re there for them, whether they’re super happy or a bit sad. Your kindness can make a huge difference.
#10 They Know They’re Different, and That’s Okay!
They’ve probably been told they’re “too sensitive” a lot. But guess what?
They already know, and they don’t need a reminder. Instead of pointing it out, be there for them.
#11 Let Them Know Their Feelings are Real
Every child wants to feel understood. For sensitive kids, it’s super important.
Let them know their feelings are real, and you’re there to listen. It can help them feel better and more confident.
#12 Create Safe Spaces
Sometimes, having a little space just for them can make a world of difference. It can be a reading nook, a cozy corner, or a calm spot in the garden.
This gives them a place to retreat and recharge.
#13 Schedule Quiet Times
It’s okay to have moments in the day when things are calm and quiet. It could be a bit of coloring, puzzle-solving, or simply looking at the clouds.
These little breaks can help them reset.
#14 Encourage Expressive Outlets
Let them paint, play an instrument, or keep a journal. These can be great ways for them to express their feelings and understand themselves better.
#15 Stay Educated and Informed
The more you know what it means to be highly sensitive, the better you can support them. Read a book or two about it or join a support group.
#16 Set Clear, Consistent Routines
Predictability is helpful, especially for a child with HSP. Knowing what’s going to happen next is comforting.
#17 Use Positive Reinforcement
Celebrate their achievements, big or small! When they do something great, let them know!
It helps build their confidence and reinforces positive behavior. Try one of these positive reinforcements for your child.
Caring for a highly sensitive child might require extra patience and understanding, but the rewards are immeasurable. These special needs kids bring a unique and heartwarming perspective to our world.
They teach us to appreciate life’s deeper layers. In return, they ask only for our compassion and a listening ear.
By embracing the guidance provided, we can ensure our sensitive children feel cherished and understood, just as they should.
What have you found that helps your hs child? Share in the comments below.
Check Out These Additional Resources to Help Your HSP Children
- Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Moving With a Special Needs Child
- Simple Sensory Activities For An Autistic Teenager
- Secrets to Help Children Cope With Disappointment
- How to Best Advocate For Your Child in Special Education
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