Highly Sensitive Children: Identify Them and Tips to Help Them
In the wonderful world of childhood, we encounter a diversity of personalities, traits and characteristics that make each child unique. Among these children, there is a special group that has intense sensitivity to the environment that surrounds them, known as 'Highly Sensitive Children' or NAS. They experience the world in a unique way, feeling emotions deeply and reacting more intensely to the stimuli around them. Their sensitivity can manifest in various areas, from emotions to senses, and understanding and supporting these children is essential for their development and well-being. In this exploration, we will delve into the world of highly sensitive children, identifying their distinctive traits and providing tips to help them flourish in a world that can often feel overwhelming to them.
What are highly sensitive children?
Highly sensitive children are those who have greater sensitivity to emotional, sensory and environmental stimuli compared to other children. This sensitivity can manifest itself in various ways and can be a natural personality trait. Remember that each child is unique, so it is essential to adapt these tips to your child's needs and personality. If you have concerns about your child's sensitivity or if you think he or she might benefit from additional support, consider consulting a mental health professional or therapist who can provide specific guidance.
Characteristics of highly sensitive children
They often show deep empathy towards others, often feeling the emotions of others intensely.
Intense emotional reactions
They can react more intensely and lastingly to emotional situations, whether happiness, sadness, anger or anxiety.
They are more likely to be sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as bright lights, loud noises, specific textures or flavors.
They can notice details that others may miss, such as small changes in the environment or people's behavior.
Need for Alone Time
They often need time alone to process their emotions and recharge.
How is a highly sensitive child diagnosed?
They are not diagnosed in the traditional sense as a medical or psychological disorder would be. High sensitivity is more of a personality trait than a diagnostic condition. However, you can identify a highly sensitive child by looking at certain traits and behaviors.
How do you know if your son or daughter has high sensitivity?
Fear of failure or criticism
They can be very self-critical and fear failure. They may avoid situations where they feel they may be judged or criticized.
Creativity and depth of thinking
These children are often creative, imaginative and thoughtful. They have deep thinking abilities and can ask philosophical questions from an early age.
Depth of Thinking
They have a tendency to think deeply and thoughtfully about things. They can ask philosophical questions and have a greater capacity for analysis and understanding.
Sensitivity to injustice
They are very sensitive to injustice and may feel a deep need to advocate for equity and justice in the world.
Tips to help a highly sensitive boy or girl
Encourage open communication
Encourage your child to express their emotions and concerns. Listen carefully and show understanding.
Create a calm environment
Try to maintain an environment at home that is calm and free of excessive stimuli. This can help reduce stress and overstimulation.
Establish predictable routines
Highly sensitive minors often benefit from regular routines that provide security and predictability.
Help with emotional management
Teach them skills to manage their emotions, such as deep breathing or meditation. Promotes emotional resilience.
Teach them to take care of themselves. This includes getting enough rest, eating well, and doing activities that help them relax.
Although it is important to care for highly sensitive children, it is also essential to allow them to face challenges and learn from experiences.
Provide social support
Help your child establish positive relationships with friends and family. The company of trusted people can be a great support.
Encourage their interests
Encourage their passions and interests, which will help them develop confidence and skills.
Sensitivity test for children
There is no standardized "sensitivity test" that can accurately diagnose a child. High sensitivity is a personality trait, not a medical or psychological condition, so it is not diagnosed in the same way as a disorder. Instead of a formal test, parents, caregivers, and health professionals can observe and evaluate certain behaviors and characteristics in children to determine if they are highly sensitive. Below I provide you with a list of questions and statements that could help you identify if a child is highly sensitive. These questions can serve as a guide, but do not constitute an official diagnosis.
- Does the child react intensely to emotional situations, such as sadness, happiness or stress?
- Is the child particularly sensitive to sensory stimuli such as loud noises, bright lights, or specific textures?
- Do you notice that the child is very observant and usually notices details that others overlook?
- Does the child need time alone to recharge and process their emotions?
- Does the child have a tendency to be creative and imaginative?
- Do you avoid conflict and prefer peaceful solutions instead of confrontations?
- Do you feel a strong sensitivity towards injustice and inequality?
- Does the child need routines and structure in his life to feel safe and calm?
- Does the child show a deep capacity for thought and reflection?
- Does the child show great empathy toward others, often feeling others' emotions deeply?
Activities for highly sensitive children
Art and Creativity
Encourage artistic expression through painting, drawing, sculpting or creating crafts. This allows them to channel their emotions and develop their creativity in a positive way. A good activity for children is to encourage them to do toy made from recycled materials
Outdoor activities, such as walking in nature, exploring botanical gardens, or playing in parks, can be relaxing and therapeutic. Contact with nature can provide relief from stress and overstimulation. Get to know the 20 outdoor games to enjoy.
Music and dance
Music and dance are excellent ways to express emotions and release tension. Consider music, singing, or dance classes if the child is interested.
Books can be a way to escape to imaginary worlds and delve into short stories for kids. Read with your child or encourage him to read books that interest him.
Meditation and relaxation
Teach your child relaxation for children techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing. These practices can help them manage stress and overstimulation.
Activities such as acting, theater or performance can be a great way to allow them to express themselves safely and creatively.
Construction and puzzle games
Games that require concentration and problem solving, such as puzzles and construction, can be beneficial for stimulating the mind.
Consider involving a play therapist if you think your child could benefit from this form of therapy. Play can be an effective way to express emotions and work on social skills. They could practice 30 role-playing games for children
There is no formal diagnosis for high sensitivity, as it is a personality trait and not a medical condition. Rather than focusing on a diagnosis, it is important to understand and support these children according to their individual needs. Identifying a highly sensitive person in childhood involves observing behaviors and characteristics such as pronounced empathy, intense emotional responses, sensory sensitivity, acute perception, need for alone time, and a creative nature, among other traits. These children can benefit from a variety of activities that allow them to express their emotions, develop their creativity and provide them with a calm and safe environment. Support from parents, caregivers, and mental health professionals is critical to helping NAS thrive in a world that can often feel overwhelming to them. Open communication, understanding, structure, and an environment that takes their needs into account are key components to the well-being of these children. Ultimately, celebrating and valuing high sensitivity as a personality trait rather than considering it a condition to be corrected is essential for the healthy development and happiness of highly sensitive children.