Google+ Authentic Parenting: Keeping it Simple with a Highly Sensitive Child

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keeping it Simple with a Highly Sensitive Child

Welcome to the JULY edition of the Simply Living Blog CarnivalWith kids cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what we do to simplify our lives with our children. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post. Join us on our blog hop with the same theme tomorrow!


Parenting a highly sensitive child requires a couple extra considerations. 
Everything must be talked about in advance, diverting from plans can be difficult. Outings can only be done on times that fit the routine. 

Keeping it simple is a near must when you have a highly sensitive child in your family. Planning too much, seeing too many people, doing too much all at once, will result in a meltdown.

So we do, keep it simple. We try to limit our daily schedule and include enough down time which allows for free, unscheduled play, and when we can't, we talk it through a couple of days in advance. When it's a big change - say traveling from Liberia to Belgium - we even start talking about the traveling and how it will unfold about a week in advance. We include as much detail as possible, because we know that makes it easier for our daughter.

If we have to do things she doesn't know yet, we sometimes bring in books or watch youtube videos on the subject. We also make sure that we have lots of open ended toys available for her to process new things. She played birth assistant for a long time after het brother's birth, and since the recent hospital visits her father had, we've seen lot's of doctor and nurse play.

Some days, we just know when our daughter wakes up that it's not a good day and then we try to arrange it so that she can rest. On those days she'll prefer to be inside, watch some tv or read some books. She sometimes draws or plays board games on the down days. 
If we have something very important planned on a day like that, we arrange for a sitter, or try to make transitions as little and as soft as possible.

Right now, she's at an age where she can start doing various activities, and since we're in Belgium, and she's asking, we've tried planning some things for her. She's been horseback riding several times, we've visited lots of farms and she'll be attempting playground tomorrow (group play at the playground). We try to have as many flexible activities as possible, so she can opt out at any time. 
she knows herself well and knows when it will be too much to deal, so it's safest not to have a financial commitment. 

We're not fail proof yet, but we're getting there. I must say that knowing about High Sensitivity has helped us a great deal. Do you have a highly sensitive child? What are the ways in which you simplify life.

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living and parenthood. We hope you will join us next month when we discuss celebrations!  



  1. Everyone has sensitivities to some extent. I think being aware of those can help remind us to keep things simple and manageable for family members.

  2. Your daughter sounds similar to my eldest. He likes to know what is happening and really finds it difficult to manage a change in plans. I tend to wait to tell him what is going to happen until I am sure it will and if I am not sure, but need to tell him, I will tell him it may change and he is old enough to understand what this means. I have got better at managing this over the years and it has got easy as he has got older and can understand and process more but I hate it when I forget to take his needs into consideration.

    1. yes, same here. Sometimes we just do things that we already should know we shouldn't be doing with her and then all of us end up frustrated.

  3. After a few disasters early on, I committed to only ever doing ONE thing per day. So if we went to the library, we didn't then do the food shopping. If we had swimming lessons, we just went straight there and home, rather than running errands while we were out. Meant a lot more planning, but a much more settled child. The other (biggest) thing we did was deciding to homeschool :)

    1. we did that when my daughter was smaller. If we strung on more than one outing, or even more than one store, we'd be guaranteed to have screams. Now she can handle a little more but only if we can prepare her in advance. And no stop go activities :)
      Also very happy for the unschooling. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to drag her out of bed every morning


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