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Have you wondered why your child cries more often than other kids her age on minor issues? Well, you have a sensitive little one. Handling a highly sensitive child requires a lot of patience and understanding. So how do you do it? You still haven’t been able to figure it out? Well, here is an article to help you do just that.
What is a Highly Sensitive Child?
A highly sensitive child is born with a sensitive nervous system which reacts quickly to even the smallest of situations which may hardly hold any importance to others. Such a child is quick to react to everything and thinks anything and everything with a lot of depth. They also get easily overwhelmed by seeing others in emotional distress. Such children are either very calm, introvert and fairly easy to raise or are very active, stubborn and very demanding by nature. It is usually seen that all highly sensitive children are hypersensitive to their emotional and physical environment.
Signs of Highly Sensitive Kid
Many parents seeing their child get overwhelmed or distressed easily may often wonder “is my child highly sensitive?” It is usually seen that over sensitive child symptoms are usually visible in an individual from a very young age. Listed below are 12 signs of a highly sensitive child.
1. Full of empathy
HSC are very empathetic towards others and they always place other’s emotional needs before their own. As a result, they usually take in other’s emotional pain which affects their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
HSC are easily stimulated to noise, smell, touch visuals, movement, and taste. So much so that it can affect their lives. For such highly sensitive children, a certain noise or visual may get them distressed or overwhelmed.
3. Always trying to please others
Since they do not want to hurt people, they always go out of their way to help people to please them. This at times turns out to be damaging and harmful to them.
An HSC may seem to be an extrovert, talkative, in love with people but they easily get overstimulated and therefore require some “me-time”. They need some time to be alone to disconnect themselves from the outside world.
5. Heart rules their head
They are so emotional by nature that they are always ruled by their heart rather than their head. They are too empathetic by nature.
6. They dislike all things negative
Such children have an intense dislike for violence or something like a horror movie. They will quite naturally stay away from fights and arguments.
7. A complaint box
A child who is highly sensitive will quite often complain and whine at the slightest of problems like an itchy clothing, seams in her socks or even labels brushing against her skin.
8. Uncomfortable with change
She abhors change. The slightest change in her room, house or surrounding may make her feel uncomfortable.
9. Despises noise
You may often see her getting startled when there is a loud noise. Noisy surroundings are a complete no-no for an HSC.
10. Deep thinker
She may often ask you deep, provoking questions which may amaze adults. They also think a lot and observe a lot around them. This makes them ask a volley of questions which more often than not leaves the adults irritated.
11. Loves animals
She may have a special affinity towards animals. Death of a pet at home may make her depressed for days. Love towards animals may be so intense that seeing anyone being cruel towards an animal may make her angry.
12. Shy by nature
Highly sensitive kids are very shy near complete strangers. This makes them underperform near unknown people. However, after they get to know someone, they start getting friendly with them and may easily open up, although this may take quite a bit of time.
How to Deal with Hypersensitive Child?
Having a highly sensitive kid at home may be difficult at times and frustrating at other times. It may be a challenge for parents to raise HSC. However, it is important that you understand them and accept them as they are. They are highly intelligent beings with a great sense of humour. They are very intuitive and are great observers. They are gifted with empathy for others which make them priceless.
Listed below are some parenting strategies for a highly sensitive child which may help you to deal with your sensitive little one.
1. Allowing her some “alone” time
The most important thing for a parent to do with a highly sensitive kid is to understand her and accept her as she is. An HSC needs some space and time of her own to recharge herself up. For her, it is as important as breathing.
2. Show some empathy
A common question many parents ask is how to help a highly sensitive child? Well, all you need to do is understand and empathize with them. It is important to understand that having an HSC at home means more startles, more emotional flare-ups, more hurts, and more wailings. It is human for parents of such a kid to feel frustrated at times and lose their patience but you need to keep it in check.
Never be apologetic to people for her idiosyncrasies. She is born with it and apologizing to people every now and then near her will make her feel that her emotions, empathy, sensitivity or the way she feels or behaves is something which is not right. This may result in bringing her self-esteem down.
4. Making her overcome fears slowly
Making her do something that she detests or fears very slowly can help her to overcome the dislike or fear of the thing or situation. However, this should be done at a gradual pace and not in a hurried manner.
For example, she may detest wearing a cardigan since she feels itchy in it but asking her to wear it for some time and complimenting her in it may make her want to wear it again for a longer time. It must be done in such a subtle manner that it does not feel like a punishment to her.
5. Keeping a pet
HSC love animals. So put their affinity into use and get home a pet for them. Having a pet at home will calm them down and they will also have a companion to play with. However be sure that your child is not allergic to pets.
6. Do not use the usual methods of discipline for an HSC
Using the usual severe methods of punishment like spanking, yelling, etc may only make matters worse for a highly sensitive kid. She may respond the other way round by screaming, crying, and throwing temper tantrums. Therefore, disciplining highly sensitive kids should be done differently.
For example, you can ask your HSC the repercussion of having an ice cream when she has just got out from a bout of cold and cough instead of telling her that she will get spanked if she takes an ice cream.
7. Talking to your child when upset
When you see your child crying, ask her about what has upset her? Coax her a bit by asking questions to help her to answer. After she tells you the reason, you may ask her what you can do to make her feel good again. This too may require you to help her out and you can do so by giving her solutions. However, some children may take some time crying it out before they tell you what is bothering them.
8. Help them to stand up against bullies
Highly sensitive children may cry often or act differently even in normal situations. Therefore they are always at a risk of getting bullied by other children at school. In such a situation, firstly teach your child not to be afraid. If any such situation arises, tell her that she should put up a brave and confident face in front of the bullies and tell the teacher about it. Also, teach her to walk in a crowd instead of walking alone. As a parent, you may also go and have a word with her class teacher and the concerned school authorities about the situation.
9. Do not try to change them
Highly sensitive children cannot help but feel the way they feel. They are born that way. Thus as a parent should accept the way she is, not try and change her. Trying to change an HSC will only prove to be detrimental to her overall growth.
10. Accept and appreciate your HSC for who she is
A highly sensitive kid is endowed with many good qualities that you can be proud of. You will realize that she is more caring, compassionate and empathetic towards people and animals than many kids her age. They are highly intuitive and can read a person well. They are usually very creative and turn out to be great writers/ storytellers, actors, and artists. Therefore, accept her and appreciate her for the person she is.
11. Help your HSC to relax
You can introduce a half an hour of pranayama and yoga session in your child’s everyday routine. In order to encourage her, you too can join her. Even enrolling her in some art class or anything of her interest can help or even go for an evening stroll or a jog together can do wonders in calming and relaxing her.
Giving her a pat to appreciate her or a hug to let her know that you are there for her goes a long way to make her feel loved and secure.
Before you follow any of the above tips, it is important that you know what works best for your child. Things which may work well for your HSC may not have the same impact on some other HSC. Therefore, understanding your child is imperative to help her to grow into a healthy, sensitive individual.