6 Tools to Help Your Highly Sensitive Kid Thrive

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6 Tools to Help Your Highly Sensitive Kid Thrive

Fear. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Between navigating daily life amidst a pandemic, planners that have received so many edits they’re more scribbles than schedules, and an explosive election year, maintaining a peaceful and uplifting outlook as an adult can be challenging… so what about our children? Kids are naturally resilient (thank goodness!), but for our highly sensitive young ones the current times can bring about additional challenges. Empathic children are not only affected by their own emotions. They are able to pick up on the emotions and energy of others, often without awareness of doing so. The additional stress among parents and teachers combined with new regulations that reduce comfort and coping mechanisms such as physical touch can result in mental health and behavioral issues. So what can we do to help our emotionally and intuitively gifted kiddos?

  1. Meditation. Guide them through meditation exercises, such as breathing techniques and visualization tools. Doing so together is beneficial for children and adults alike, reducing stress hormones and adrenaline production. Simply teaching them to bring their awareness to their breathing and slow it down gently when feeling stressed or overwhelmed is a powerful tool to put in a child’s wellness toolbelt.
  2. Physical Activity. Make sure they are getting adequate physical activity. Though some may have physical education or recess scheduled into their day, the majority of children in the United States are still not meeting the requirement recommendations to support healthy growth. Children are encouraged to be physically active at vigorous or moderate levels for a minimum of one hour each day. Bring back the old school games you enjoyed as a kid or try something completely new. Keep in mind, they look up to you so involve them in a form of physical activity you enjoy!
  3. Mindful Meal & Snack Preparation. Work to intentionally reduce sugar and processed foods from your child’s (and your) diet. Highly sensitive kiddos are often even more reactive to foods with high sugar content and overly processed ingredients. Wondering what to replace them with? Think natural, planty goodness! Involve them in the process as much as possible, from choosing what foods to pick out at your local farmers market to inviting them to help in the kitchen. It can be simple and easy for your child to choose a healthy snack as well. We keep a row of mason jars in our fridge (within reach of our little one) that contain fruits and veggies such as grapes, green pepper slices, carrots, cauliflower chunks, and berries washed and ready for little hands. By allowing them to choose which colorful snack or side to enjoy, children feel empowered to practice intuitive eating. The more you and your children can experience the colorful array of plants found in nature, the more your body and mind will thank you.
  4. Get Outside. As much as weather and time permit, explore the outdoors! Children (and adults) need time to reconnect with their inner wild animal! Between fresh air, more activity, and natural exploration, the outdoors are the original classroom! Your highly sensitive kiddo is designed to be supported in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness and growth. Invite them to learn from their natural surroundings, taking in the change of seasons, observing wildlife, and identifying native plants and trees.
  5. Creative Expression. Support your child in expressing themselves the way they naturally gravitate toward. Children are innate creators, who love expressing their thoughts and emotions through creative play and artistic means. Put on their favorite tunes for a dance party, break out the rain ponchos and paint up a storm, or build a fort out of materials found around the house.
  6. Genuine Connection. During this time especially, children require authentic (while being age-appropriate) conversation and fulfillment of their emotional needs. Empathic children can pick up on your emotions so talk them through with your children when they’re noticing your feelings. By doing so you are furthering their understanding of their own emotions as well. Spend quality time together that is uninterrupted by technology. Highly sensitive children are quite perceptive of whether your attention is elsewhere so set your phone aside, save the mental to-do list for later, and take time to be fully present in your life and theirs.

Which of these tools have helped your children the most? Let’s share below!

Motherhood, Misogyny, & the Death of RBG

Motherhood, Misogyny, & the Death of RBG

As I slowly sank to the bed while folding laundry upon it, my soon-to-be three year old halted her enthusiastic attempts to help me and carefully observed my face. “Are you sad, Mommy? Why are you sad?”. I took a deep breath as tears rolled down my face. How should I respond to my emotionally perceptive little toddler with honesty and gentleness? “Yes, Mommy is sad. A lady… an important lady who did some great things died tonight. She worked really hard so that you and Mommy and lots of other girls can have a chance to be anything they want to be in this life.”

She accepted this response with a nod, wiped the tear from my cheek, and recommended that I have a snack and take a nap and that would make me feel better. I smiled at her innocent kindness (and valid suggestion) and began processing my thoughts. Why was I feeling so deeply emotional about the death of a woman that I never met and whose life I knew little of? I pondered the most influential moments and words of the Notorious RBG.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As with many young girls, I was raised to be “nice” and respectful. Elders were to be obeyed and male figures were the standard symbol of authority from my own traditional family to Sunday mass and every elementary and middle school principal I’d had. I quickly learned that it made less waves to stay quiet if your beliefs differed from those around you, especially male voices. I considered the experiences that may have been different had I understood that I held within me the same strength and power as Ruth to affect change. We are presented with a choice of mourning her death and fearing the uncertainty of the future, or coming together and committing ourselves to living out her legacy through our actions. What if…

When, as young girls, we are encouraged to tame our wild in favor of keeping ourselves pretty and presentable, we indignantly say… “I dissent.”

When we are taught that we are only capable of certain jobs or careers, or should forget these pursuits altogether if we decide to have a family we do them anyway and say… “I dissent.”

When we are sexually objectified and pursued without permission, we ignore the habit of being nice to stand strong and say… “I dissent.”

When harassed or expected to “lighten up” and accept inappropriate and demeaning jokes, we refuse to smile politely and instead say… “I dissent.”

When discriminated against in the workplace or made to feel shame for your unique way of balancing your personal goals and personal life, we say… “I dissent.”

When overlooked in areas of leadership in favor of a masculine presence, we demonstrate our soft strength and pave our own way of leading as we say… “I dissent.”

When we recognize unequal, unjustified, or blatantly hateful behavior being practiced toward any person or group we stand with them in love and say… “I dissent.”

When those who govern our beloved country do so without empathy, justice, or respect for their female constituents, we take to the polls and say… “I dissent.”

When told to dim our feminine light for the comfort of those uncomfortable with their own, we shine anyway and say… “I dissent.”

When encouraged by society to raise our daughters according to outdated practices and limiting belief systems, we break these barriers to mother with kindness and confidence as we say… “I dissent.”

And when our brothers on this earth are presented with the opportunity to maintain the status quo instead of fighting for their fellow women… their wives, their mothers, their sisters, and daughters, they feel empowered to stand with us and say… “I dissent.”

Imagine what a beautiful world this would be. Now let us join together in creating this world for ourselves, our sons, and our daughters… one step at a time. We hold inside ourselves the power to rise up, wipe our tears, and continue her mission together.