The Highly Sensitive Child
Our daughter is a highly sensitive child. We knew pretty much from infancy, but didn't learn the term until she was around 4 years old. Follow our journey as we faced behavioral challenges, learned to support our daughter the best we could and continue to do so, and how we've navigated life with a highly sensitive child. We've taken her to therapy with therapists that are trained to work with HSC's, and have seen tremendous results.
The Highly Sensitive Child
- Learn about the 4 main aspects that are present in a highly sensitive child.
- What has helped our HSC thrive
- The one thing we've stopped doing now that we understand about HSCs
- Find out if your child is highly sensitive
Learning to Support Our Highly Sensitive Child
Being a highly sensitive child is an amazing gift. Learn to support your child and celebrate the fact that they are an HSC. After realizing our daughter is a HSC, we were determined to find help and learn to support her the way she needs us to.
Here's what we did over the last 4 months:
- Play therapy
- Video conferences with one on one support
- Parent workshop on how to best support a highly sensitive child
We found a therapy practice that focuses on HSCs!!! They helped us tremendously and in this post I'd like to share the basic knowledge that we've gained.
Highly Sensitive Child Parenting Strategies
Parenting a HSC is hard work, but so worth it. Here are some strategies and immediate actions to help you in your journey.
What you'll learn in this post:
- How to do a reset and unlearn the old parenting strategies you've been using
- Fully accept the Highly Sensitive trait
- More on the 3 pathways we've taken (play therapy/CPRT, things implemented at home, & the parent workshop)
- 5 Parenting tactics we're using now that are working wonders!
- An intro to play therapy and what toys we purchased to make the transition to home play therapy
Amazon: The Highly Sensitive Child
Grab a copy of this book as you navigate this journey with your HSC. There is invaluable information in it!
The Love Jar- A Fantastic Gift and Activity for HSC's
Learn how to help your highly sensitive child out of their "shame cycle" and teach them about the love you have for them with this activity and separate gift.
An update on play therapy. We've been doing play therapy at home for 1 full year now! I'll give you all the details and how to make it work for your HSC in the comfort of your home!
Back Before We Knew Our Daughter was a Highly Sensitive Child...
Follow along in our struggles and as we noticed our child's unique quality, before we realized she was a highly sensitive child, or even knew of the trait...
Below are some of the posts I wrote about behavior struggles, and also positive things like her unique ability to express emotions at a young age.
When Your Toddler Refuses to Do or Try Things
Huge tantrums would result if we asked our daughter (in the toddler stage) to just try something. Try to put a shoe on. Try to turn the light on, etc... This post explains the roadblocks and issues we faced, along with how we handled these situations.
Expressing and Identifying Emotions
Our daughter started recognizing and verbalizing emotions at the young age of 22 months! Had we only known about HSC's it would have all made so much sense... but we were simply blown away with her ability to understand and express emotions!
2 Years old and tantruming
2 years old and tantruming- this post is a troubleshooting post. I wrote about what was happening and tried to brainstorm and think through to help solve the problem. I like posts like this because it helps me "talk" through things in my head and keeps it real with all of you readers out there!
Today I Was Not Patient with My Toddler & I Was Far From The Perfect Mother - Being a Mom is Hard & Real & Humbling
"I remind her of ways to calm down, I offer hugs, but it doesn’t help on days like today. Sometimes I try to ignore the tantrum. Sometimes I try offering help. At times I end up putting her in her room for some chill time for both of us. Nothing stops the screaming, though. She’s strong willed for sure.
Most times I am so patient with her, but some days like today it just doesn’t happen the way I want it to. I end up feeling like such a failure on these days. Until I also see the hard work shine through…like it did today."
That Time When Balloons and Tablecloths Caused a Complete Meltdown
Balloons. Tablecloths. Blowing in the wind. Nothing too terrifying for most, but for my daughter it was. She was having a complete meltdown and nothing I did was helping her.
Looking back now, her HSC qualities were coming out full force. I just had NO idea at the time that she was a HSC. And I had no idea what to do...
Undergoing Life Changes with a Strong Willed Child
We are selling our house. We get kicked out for showings and our routine has gotten all messed up. Our 3 year old was excited at first, but now it's all caught up to her. We are in the throws of emotion now with our passionate, strong willed little girl.
In my free moments I sit and give her my attention as much as I can. Then, something pulls me away.
My fabulous independent player is now turning to screaming and throwing fits if I have to stop playing with her. Why?
She wants more of my time. She wants things back to normal. Things will get there, but now is not that time. Not yet. So we are in putting out fire mode around here.
Read more to find out the 7 things we are doing immediately to help the situation.
Keeping It Real- Screams From My 2.5 Year Old
Today my daughter screamed for 1 hour. 1 full hour. Why? She’d asked me to change her from a dress into a shirt. “Sure,” I said, as I did the dishes after breakfast, “just go get the shirt that you want to change into, please.” All out screaming ensued...
Again one of the many moments I wish I could go back to now that I know she is a HSC...
Calm Down Bin- Making Progress on the Screams (2.5 Years Old)
We have been awake for less than 2 hours today, and already we’ve had 2 screaming fits. The good news, if you’re keeping track, is that as of a few days ago her fits were 1 hour long and just solid full of screams. That is no longer the case. Her fits still involve screams. They are even perhaps more frequent now, but they are short. They are manageable. But they are tiring. Mama’s tired.
We made a calm down bin- TOGETHER. See what's in it and how it's helping us!
Calm Down Tool Kit For Toddlers
I’ve created a printable calm down tool kit that is a very handy tool and has worked very well in our home! This toolkit includes emotion cards, calm down technique cards, and more!
Our Toddler's Anxiety Around Other Children
"One morning, as I was picking Caroline up from school, her teacher asked me to stay behind and talk once everyone had left. She assured me that it was no big deal, just something she wanted to mention, but of course, my heart sank. I should have realized this talk was coming. I should have known it would be an issue, but I hadn’t even thought of it.
Caroline is a star student in the classroom. She listens to directions well, she’s well behaved and focused. She learns fast, and she even practices her new skills at home. When it’s playtime at school, however, she’s having a hard time.
Her teacher informed me that when they go out to the playground, instead of running around and having fun playing, Caroline is sitting by herself and is quite upset.
The minute her teacher said this was happening, I knew why, and I knew I should have seen it coming…
Caroline has always been a rule follower, and she points it out when others are not following the rules. It bothers her to no end. She’ll come home and tell me about other children not listening well! When it comes to playground time, if another child runs into her on accident, she’s the type to internalize it as the other child pushing her and being mean. Occasionally, she’s also experienced other children taking things from her (they are still learning). She remembers EVERY incident that’s ever happened- ever. Her memory is outstanding.
These moments have been few and far between, but to Caroline they are very real and very much at the forefront. She’s now fearful and has anxiety about other children being mean..."
How to Ease Your Toddler's Fears
"Sensitive, passionate children, are likely to have fears that come along with their deep feelings. It is so important to help our toddlers through this time, and there are a variety of ways that we can help ease our toddler’s minds."
7 tactics we used to help ease our daughter's fears.
I love looking back at these old posts. I knew she was highly sensitive. I just didn't know it was a thing, with a book all about it, and an actual trait....
I Felt Like My Daughter Was a Part of a Cruel Social Experiment
"I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so proud of how you (my two year old) handled such a confusing situation. You waited patiently in line. You were polite. You were such a big girl when you didn’t get a toy. You were understanding. You were mature. You were amazing. You had us in your head in there. You heard us say to wait patiently. You heard us say it will all be ok. You heard us in your heart. Because you’ll always have us with you."
In this part of our journey we'd started taking our daughter to the behavioral therapy center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. We knew we needed help...
Anxiety Around Saying Names- And Our Boot-Camp to Help
Caroline has some anxieties- specifically around doing things perfectly. Yes, she’s a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve seen this anxiety and perfectionism come through in several ways:
- Trying new things
- Writing Practice
- Social settings
- Saying names
She was nervous. She finally told me that she was scared she would say it incorrectly. I was so shocked, and felt so bad. Our Name Boot-Camp: How We Helped Caroline to Feel Comfortable Saying Names...
When Your Parenting Toolbox Isn't Enough
This is the moment we learned our daughter is a Highly Sensitive Child. The moment we learned we need help and support.
"Our glasses have effectively tipped over. It feels as if we are no longer helping her in any productive ways.
We have tried and tried and tried and tried. Our glasses were once full and overflowing with ideas. We are out of ideas. And eventually our glasses were drained, as they fell over in sheer exhaustion.
We have no new ideas to fill them with. We are mentally exhausted to the point that we can’t even fill up our own glasses to help ourselves. We feel empty. We feel lonely. We feel confused. We need help.
That’s they key. Admitting that we need help. We need fresh ideas. We need support for our child.
We’ve tried that huge parenting toolbox that we have. And it really is extensive! (See below for a printable list of the tools we’ve tried)."