The highly sensitive child has a much lower sensory threshold than most and FEELS everything more intensely! Tags on clothes, seams in socks, loud noises and bright lights can make the sensitive child very overwhelmed.
These children also feel emotions strongly and can pick up on the emotional stressors around them. It’s as if they take these stressors on-board and react accordingly. Managing all these stimulations and sensations can be exhausting for our spirited children!
So how does knowing this help parents?
If parents are aware of this sensitivity within their spirited child, they can start to monitor the stimulation around them to avoid meltdowns. Take particular care in shopping centres, at beaches, carnivals, any place where there is a lot of noise, bright lights and crowds of people. These places can trigger your child and they may start to act out, not because they are being ‘naughty’, but because they are overwhelmed and can no longer cope, especially if further demands are put upon them from unsuspecting parents.
Avoiding places that may set your spirited child off is not always an option, so when you find yourself in these situations, use words to describe how you think your child might be feeling. For example ‘It is really loud in here and there are lots of bright lights. If it gets too much for you sweetie, let me know and we can take a break somewhere quiet together’. This also helps our children begin to see these triggers for themselves, so they can eventually start to verbalise what is going on and let us know in advance.
My daughter was very sensitive to the splashing of water on her skin, or for touching anything wet. We found a great Occupational Therapist who, in just 2 sessions, reduced this sensitivity immensely. So this is something to consider if you feel your child needs a little support around sensitivity and sensory threshold.
Sensitivity is just one of nine traits that make up a person’s temperament. Over the next few weeks I will be exploring each trait and what they look like in the spirited child.