Sensitive Children

Parenting Blog

November 9, 2016

Sensitive Children

I meet a lot of sensitive children and in many ways, in varying degrees, all young children are sensitive. They are just developing ways of processing what comes to them that allows them to digest what they ingest. Particularly with the highly sensitive child, it seems that the world penetrates too deeply and affects them profoundly. In this way, they are like the canaries in the cage that signal to us that something needs to be adjusted. The sensitive child tends to be demonstrative in expressing discomfort or indigestion and they either retreat inwardly or act out, bringing valuable information to the surrounding adults. What is essential for the sensitive child is a conscious sensory environment and care; these are components of programs that serve all children.
Parents of sensitive children may be sensitive souls themselves and they can be at a loss for what to do to help their child thrive. The child's discomfort might trigger parental discomfort which can then further add to the challenge. Many parents of sensitive children choose the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center. They notice the sensory input is less, not more, and it is easier to integrate (or to continue the metaphor above, to digest). Like digestible food, the sensory information can be assimilated and become a part of the child or let go of, rather than causing a belly-ache or other symptoms. According to Dr. Elaine Aron, researcher on sensitivity, it is primarily the adult response that decides whether the expression of sensitivity will be an advantage or a source of anxiety for children.

Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happier Kids and the website, "" has these suggestions which align with the general approach to early childhood development that we use at the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center:

  1. Accept, rather than seek to change your child; embrace your child's uniqueness.
  2. See sensitivity as a gift even if the child is withdrawn or cries a lot. Sensitivity characterizes many artists, innovators, prodigies and great thinkers.
  3. Partner up. Let your child experience your guidance as helpful, teaching him or her how to cope with triggers.
  4. Focus on your child's strengths. Remember what your child does well when your child is overwhelmed, emotional, shy or picky about clothes, food, etc.
  5. Create calmness. Begin with yourself. Give your child something to imitate and create a calming area in the house where the sensory information is soothing.
  6. Instill inner discipline. Rhythms help. Clear boundaries set with respect help. Clarity helps the child learn.
  7. Connect with peers. Find children that can engage with your child in ways that nurture your child's strengths.

According to Maureen Healy, "Sensitive children need especially good role models because they are learning to use their incredible gifts in a world that sometimes does not value their inherent worth."

We know otherwise. All children bring gifts and lessons; we do our best to meet them where they are, give them what they need and celebrate their growth.

Interested in enrolling your child at The Rose Garden?

Find Application on our Programs page. Complete the form and send it to us by email or mail to secure a space!