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How to Parent a Highly Sensitive Child

child playing with toys in living room

Every child is different, even if they come from the same parents. One child may have no problem with loud noises or large crowds, while the other can’t stand it. If your child is in the latter category, they could be highly sensitive. But what does this mean? Read on to learn more.

What is a highly sensitive child?

Psychiatrist Elaine Aron was the first person to coin the term HSP, or highly sensitive person. But what exactly does that mean? An adult or child who is considered an HSP has a highly reactive nervous system. In other words, they’re more sensitive to physical, emotional, and social stimuli, and thus quick to react.

How does this affect their day-to-day life?

For most of us, our brains filter out certain information, but HSPs take in everything. As a result, they are very perceptive. This can be a major advantage, but it can also work against them. When there is too much stimuli—such as in large crowds—an HSP can become overstimulated and overwhelmed. Adults can have the self-knowledge to handle overstimulation accordingly. But children do not. As a result, highly sensitive children may have emotional outbursts or shutdown all together.

Parenting a highly sensitive child

Parenting a highly sensitive child may require different techniques. Here’s what you can do:

  • See it as an advantage: Being highly sensitive should not be considered a negative personality trait. Your child is not “too sensitive,” they just see the world different. Plus, a HSP has qualities that others don’t, such as having a greater level of emotional awareness, empathy, innovativeness, attention to detail, and more.
  • Understand their triggers: Your child will be more sensitive to external stimuli. Understanding what triggers them can help you avoid or manage these situations.
  • Be accommodating: Some parents try to expose their child to their triggers to force them to “get over” it. However, this actually worsens the problem. High sensitivity is an inborn trait, so it’s better to cope with it than try to “fix” it. For instance, you can give them a pair of headphones to block out loud noises, or a stuffed animal to keep them calm.

A stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory can help keep your highly sensitive child calm in tough situations. Look through our website today to get started!

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