Children are the next generation of people who will make a difference in the world, so they must be cared for. For this reason, our adults’ responsibility is to teach them to be responsible adults. However, children aren’t always the carefree type because some children, such as highly sensitive children, often have difficulties interacting with their surroundings.
Highly sensitive children are generally classified as highly sensitive people (HSP), but children are often misunderstood because they are easily overwhelmed by noise, crowds, and intense emotions. Conversely, they may take criticism very personally, affecting their interpersonal relationships. These traits are often unidentifiable until later stages children aren’t always able to communicate their experiences and are often not taken seriously when they do. For this reason, we’ll discuss what you should know about highly sensitive children and how to care for them.
What Does It Mean If a Person Is Highly Sensitive?
A highly sensitive person is more sensitive to external stimuli. They’re often more aware of subtleties and, therefore, more easily affected. This means they are more prone to overstimulation and easily overwhelmed by their environments. Highly sensitive people are also more attuned to other people’s emotions and can be more easily hurt. For example, a highly sensitive person may feel more hurt by a friend’s criticism than an insensitive person would.
Highly sensitive people often have difficulty dealing with strong emotions, such as anger, sadness, and fear. They may also have trouble dealing with loud noises and bright lights. Highly sensitive people are often more introverted than extroverted and may have difficulty dealing with large crowds.
Children’s being highly sensitive is often seen negatively because they are more prone to tantrums and meltdowns. However, this also has many positive aspects, such as being compassionate and caring. They may also be very creative and deeply understand the world around them.
Signs of a Highly Sensitive Child
As mentioned, it’s hard to spot a highly sensitive child at first glance. However, some behaviors point to it, such as:
- Overwhelmed by bright lights or loud sounds
- Asking many questions
- Easily offended
- Easily panicked
- Gets nervous before social events
- Notices small details
- Sensitive to criticism
These behaviors aren’t inherently bad but can make it difficult to function in the real world. Highly sensitive children are likelier to be shy, anxious, or emotional, affecting how they build and maintain relationships. This is a pressing matter because children are at their developmental stages, meaning if these behaviors stick with them, they may struggle with adult life.
Helping a Highly Sensitive Child
To help a highly sensitive child, you can take active steps such as:
Accept Them for Who They Are
The first step is to accept them for who they are. It doesn’t matter if they’re highly sensitive or not because they are still your child. Accepting that they are different will make it easier for you to adjust to their needs.
Make the Child See Their Sensitivity as Beneficial
While too much sensitivity can be a burden sometimes, it can also be a strength. Being sensitive can help them to be more compassionate, understand others better, and have a greater appreciation for the world around them. You should let your child understand this to help them grow into a well-rounded person.
Know Their Triggers
Every highly sensitive person has their triggers. It can be anything from loud noises to bright lights, so knowing your child’s triggers can help you avoid them.
Give Gentle Reminders
If they are going to be in a situation that might be overwhelming, give them a gentle reminder. This can help them be more prepared for what they encounter and make it a little easier.
Allow Them to Rest
If your child is feeling overwhelmed, allow them to rest. This can mean letting them take a nap or just letting them have some quiet time to themselves. This way, they can rest up to have enough energy to face their triggers should the situation happen next time.
Caring for a highly sensitive child will be challenging, so you must be patient and understanding. You must also be willing to do what it takes to help them cope with their condition. As long as you don’t push them, your child can manage their issues and, eventually, lead a normal life.
If you need help taking care of a highly sensitive child, Riverbend Life Strategies can help you! We understand that taking care of highly sensitive children is challenging, so we’re here to help you find the best solutions to ensure their needs are met. Simply go to our website to schedule an appointment!