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Is Your Child Emotionally Sensitive? 5 Tips to Support Your Family

Updated: Sep 10, 2023


A mother holding a crying child

As a parent, when it comes to our kids' emotional responses, it can sometimes be difficult to identify and meet their needs.


Children who are oversensitive emotionally (or kids with "big feelings" as I like to call them), can make it challenging for us as parents when it comes to even the most basic things in our family's daily routine.


While you as a parent know your child better than anyone, highly sensitive kids are often generally misunderstood and can be easily overwhelmed.


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Introduction to the Highly Sensitive Child

Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs) have a heightened awareness of their environment and can be easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli and emotional situations. They can also be easily overwhelmed by transitions and changes to their routine. HSCs often have strong emotions and can be deeply affected by the emotions of others.


HSCs often have a deep appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of the world around them and can be creative thinkers. They are often highly intuitive and can quickly pick up on subtle cues and nuances in their environment. They can also be highly sensitive to criticism, which can make them feel easily discouraged and frustrated.


While these traits can be challenging, they can also be beneficial and lead to a rich, fulfilling life. It’s important to understand the unique needs of the highly sensitive child to provide extra support and to create an environment where they can thrive.


Identifying the Needs of the Highly Sensitive Child


The needs of the highly sensitive child can vary from child to child, but there are a few common needs to consider. While these principles can apply to all children, they are rather necessary when it comes to raising HSCs.


The need for support and understanding when kids are emotionally sensitive


HSCs often need extra reassurance and understanding when they are feeling overwhelmed. They need to know that their feelings are valid and that their reaction to new situations and stimuli is normal.


The need for structure and routine


HSCs can be easily overwhelmed by transitions and changes to their routine. It’s important to provide structure and consistency in order to reduce stress and anxiety.


The need for time to process their emotions


They can be easily overwhelmed by strong emotions and need time and space to process these feelings.


The need for self-expression


HSCs need to be given the opportunity to express themselves. They need to be given freedom to explore their interests and to find outlets for their creativity.


A father carrying his daughter on his back in the kitchen

Creating a Supportive Environment for the Highly Sensitive Child


Creating a supportive environment for a highly sensitive child can be challenging but is essential for their growth and development.


It’s important to create an environment that is safe and secure and that provides opportunities for exploration and growth.


It’s also important to provide structure and routine. HSCs need to know what is expected of them and what will happen in different situations. Having a consistent routine can help reduce stress and anxiety.


It’s also important to create an environment that is nurturing and understanding. HSCs need to know that their feelings are valid and that their reactions to new situations and stimuli are normal.


Finally, it’s important to provide opportunities for exploration and creativity. HSCs need to be able to express themselves and explore their interests. This can be done through activities such as art, music, and writing.



Tips for Parenting a Highly Sensitive Child


Parenting a highly sensitive child can be challenging but it is also incredibly rewarding. Here are five tips to help you support your family.


Tip #1: Provide Extra Support


HSCs need extra support and understanding when they are feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to provide reassurance and understanding and to validate their feelings. It’s also important to provide extra support when they are transitioning to a new situation or environment.


Tip #2: Limit Stimulation


HSCs can be easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli and emotional situations. It’s important to limit the amount of stimulation they are exposed to and to provide a safe and secure environment. This can be done by reducing the amount of noise, clutter, and screens in their environment.


Tip #3: Model Empathy


It’s important to model empathy and understanding for your HSC. Showing empathy and understanding can help them learn how to regulate their emotions and develop important social skills.


Tip #4: Listen Attentively


HSCs need to feel heard and understood. It’s important to listen attentively and to provide an opportunity for them to express themselves. Using games or feelings cards can be very helpful for kids.


Tip #5: Take Breaks


HSCs can become easily overwhelmed and need time to process their emotions. It’s important to take breaks and provide opportunities for them to decompress.


Summary


While it may come with some extra parenting challenges, raising a highly sensitive child can be extremely rewarding. It’s important to understand the needs of the highly sensitive child and to create a supportive environment where they can thrive. By providing extra support, limiting stimulation, modeling empathy, listening attentively, and taking breaks, you can create an environment where your emotionally sensitive child can feel safe and secure.


If you’re a parent of a highly sensitive child, take a moment to reflect on the needs of your child and what you can do to create a supportive environment for their unique needs. With the right support and understanding, your HSC can reach their full potential and lead a rich, fulfilling life.



A family outside with mother and father holding son by the hands and swinging in the air

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.




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