Today's post is a guest contribution from Corinne Kerston of CorinneKerston.com
Does your child need all the tags ripped out of his clothes?
Does she seem to be overwhelmed by loud noises?
Does he pick up on small changes that most people miss?
Would you describe her shy?
If you any of this sounds like your child, there's a chance he or she could be highly
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What is a Highly Sensitive Child?
Highly sensitive children are just like any other children, except they're just a bit …
Basically their nervous system seems to work in overdrive. They pick up on
smells, sights, sounds and feelings that others aren't affected by. Because of this, they
are also easily overwhelmed and can react emotionally.
They may also be hyperaware of their surroundings.
Small, subtle changes are quickly noticed. They pick up on every aspect, every nuance; and because of this they may take longer to make decisions, often going through a catalog of options before acting.
While there are no set criteria or clinical diagnosis for being a highly sensitive child,
there are some common traits.
Your child may be highly sensitive if he or she is:
- Sensitive to noises. These children startled easily as babies. As children they tend to
dislike loud noises.
- Emotional. Maybe she cries when she's overwhelmed, tired, scared, hungry, you name
it. Just about anything triggers an emotional response.
- Sensitive to fabrics. Tags need to be cut off, clothes need to be soft and loose.
- Intelligent for their age. Maybe even intuitive. They may pick up on things others
don’t. They can also be very inquisitive and constantly looking for answers. (I know, all
kids have an affinity for the word “why,” but highly sensitive children tend to seek out
more knowledge and crave a deeper understanding of things.)
- Sensitive to scents. Certain scents bother them, or they may just have an usually
strong sense of smell.
- Uncomfortable with change. Both big and small changes can throw them off their
game, making them upset, anxious, or uncomfortable.
- A perfectionist. These kids are often very hard on themselves, holding themselves to a
very high standard. They may beat themselves up about getting something wrong.
Often worried about things that aren't age-appropriate. Highly sensitive kids
may wonder about death, or what will happen when they become adults.
- More comfortable with quiet play. Large crowds and groups may overwhelm these
- Observant. As previously mentioned, they may notice even the smallest of changes.
They may take the time to ponder things before taking any action.
- Shy or introverted. Many (not all, there are definitely highly sensitive people who are
extroverted) highly sensitive children are introverted and may need some quiet time to
How Being Highly Sensitive Affects Kid's Behavior
Highly sensitive kids receive information and process it differently. Because of this, they
act in ways that are unexpected and different. Not bad; just different.
But if you're aware of your child's specific sensitivities and how your child will react to
certain situations, many seemingly negative behaviors can be stopped or even
For example, on the surface it may seem like your highly sensitive child is ignoring you,
maybe even reusing to do what was asked of him. However, in his mind, he is busy
taking in all the extra information he is noticing and needs a bit more time before
Many highly sensitive children, like all children actually, are prone to tantrums. But
there is a difference between a manipulative tantrum and one that stems from
All kids can become overwhelmed, but because highly sensitive children take in more
noise, smells, sounds and energy from others, they are very likely to break down from
mental, emotional and even physical drain. And when they're younger, they can't quite
express what they're feeling, resulting in an overflow of emotion they just can't control.
For many kids, being sensitive isn’t just about being overly emotional. Being highly
sensitive means you feel more, sense more, pick up on more things.
But highly sensitive kids are also more intelligent, more inquisitive and often more polite. Being a bit more affected by the world isn’t a bad thing; it just means that parents bringing up these amazing, highly sensitive children need to be more aware of what affects their kids so
they can better understand why their kids act and react the way they do.
Help for Parents of Highly Sensitive Kids
I have a Check it out! full of online resources (+ trainings and calls starting in Feb. 2018) for parents of highly sensitive kids. This is for parents who want their questions answered, want support, and want to learn from some of the best parenting, self care, and family relationship coaches around!
Check it out! You CAN understand your child and help them thrive!
Corinne Kerston is a parent empowerment coach who helps struggling parents find
solutions for their highly sensitive children. She lives in Hawaii with her husband and 2 highly
sensitive kids. You can find her on her Check it out! or Check it out! .