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the sensitive child

Tips to Raise a Highly Sensitive Child

Is my child highly sensitive or just spoiled? How do I know if I have a sensitive child? We’ll discuss every aspect of this trait to let you know if your child is a part of the 15 to 20 percent population and if yes then how to deal with the same.

High sensitivity in children can come in many shapes and forms. From crying a lot when things go wrong and trying really hard to please you and others to strongly resisting change and staying aloof most of the time.

One thing to remember with highly sensitive children is that they are very observant to subtle changes and are also easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation.

So on one hand, your child might notice all small changes, might not like surprises and also seem very intuitive and on the other, be very defying, angry, argumentative and unafraid of consequences (since they don’t seem to care.)

Common Indications of a Highly Sensitive Child

Before we move forward, it’s very important to realize that being highly sensitive is not a defect. It’s very common among children and is more like a personality trait. At the same time, it is also equally important to learn to deal with a sensitive child in a proper manner. While it’s common and not a defect, wrong parenting and an unheeding attitude can seriously hamper the physical and emotional growth of a child. So, your first step in parenting is to identify if your child is showing any signs of high sensitivity.

High sensitivity does not have well-defined indications or definitions. The spectrum is very broad and can include a number of varying factors. Here are a few common ones:

  • Intense emotional reactions such as cries easily or lashes out in anger.
  • Does not like change.
  • Extremely attached to parents.
  • Is a picky eater.
  • Very particular about the texture of clothes. For example, they may complain about itchiness or tags.
  • Likes staying by themselves.
  • Often take things personally.
  • Well behaved. They often adjust their behavior as per the surroundings.
  • Are introverts.
  • Worry about things easily.
  • Hyper aware or others’ feelings, mood, behavior or body language.
  • Not fond of surprises.
  • Avoid being in social settings and are hesitant in new situations.
  • Hard on themselves. Feel guilty and the need to apologize easily.
  • Connect with music and animals.
These are not always tell-tale signs of a highly sensitive child. But, if you feel that your child is emotional and more intuitive than others, you must try a few parenting techniques discussed ahead in this article.

Highly Sensitive Consequences for a Highly Sensitive Child

This may not come as a surprise but here it is: Highly sensitive children don’t respond well to discipline! More specifically, the traditional ways.

That is because highly sensitive children tend to be very self-critical and hard on themselves. They process their mistakes so thoroughly that they often end up punishing themselves. Parental criticism in particular can be a hard blow for such children. Often when we present consequences to our highly sensitive child, say a traditional time-out or yelling at them, it can emotionally hurt them on a deeper level than we think.

They are often hyper-aware of subtle signals especially from you, and also hyper intuitive. So you can’t really hide anything from them. This is why they are more aware of your feelings compared to regular people.

It’s easier to say that uncontrolled outbursts, unjust or thoughtless consequences can have a major impact on such a sensitive person, especially a child.

Discipline Strategies to Avoid:

  • Avoid shaming: Sensitive children are particularly sensitive to shaming. “You naughty child” or “why can’t you get it right” may seem like mild corrections but to sensitive children, these words can be devastating
  • Don’t tease: Some families see teasing as light-hearted fun. But the sarcastic messages which are almost always embedded in the teasing will not be lost for a sensitive child. For example, “Uh-oh, Emma is baking cookies. Hold your ears! The smoke detector will be going off any minute!”
  • Avoid physical discipline: This applies to every child. No spanking, pinching or slapping.
  • Don’t isolate or withdraw warmth and love: Time-out or ignoring is not the most effective way to discipline any child. Sensitive children are particularly vulnerable to the emotional harm of the same.
  • Avoid being lenient: Don’t avoid correcting your sensitive child out of fear of hurting his/her feelings or because you feel sorry for them. A loving correction that is not harsh or shaming will not damage them but will help them to reach their fullest potential and feel valued.
  • Don’t make rules on the go: Your sensitive child might be very sensitive to right-and-wrong and to the concept of ‘fairness’. So, if you have agreed on a rule, stick to it. Don’t change it or make up a new one without a discussion just to suit your preference.

Disciplines Strategies to Favor:

  • Change your tone of voice for correction: For sensitive children, a correction given in a serious tone of voice is often enough to change their behavior. They want to please their parents (or any adult). Knowing they stepped out of line is distressing and will cause them to correct their behavior.
  • Connect before you correct: Since sensitive children often approach a threat, by shutting down quickly, it is important to reassure them that you are on their side and will help them solve the problem. Listen, accept what you hear and reach an agreement together.
  • Replace time-out for time-in: Because it is best to avoid isolating sensitive children to a time-out chair, time-in is a good alternative. Take the child to a calming area and help them to calm down if needed. Try discussing why the behavior was unacceptable and what they can do instead.
  • Use consequences sparingly: Again, reminders and a change of tone are often enough to correct a sensitive child. In the case that they repeatedly break a rule when you’ve given them clear limits and instructions, a mild logical consequence may be useful. But steer clear from a shame reaction and adjust accordingly. More importantly, find out why your child is repeatedly breaking the rule.
  • Restore connection, security, and self-esteem after disciplining a highly sensitive child: Positive affirmations, encouraging words, and playtime or focused attention will help your child to know they are still loved.
  • Inform, Plan and Agree on Rules: Nobody likes to be told what to do and not to do. So, avoid judging immediately. Sensitive children often find it particularly hard to process new rules or routines. Therefore, they might appear to ‘break’ rules or not comply. Sit down during calm time and talk about what rules you need in order for everyone to feel happy and respected. Also, discuss the routines that will be needed in order to create a happy and harmonious home.

Listen, understand and accept

When your sensitive child is defying rules and limits, you should focus on listening, understanding and accepting. Try this example to deal with the situation in a better way: I can hear you are very upset. I understand that you are angry at me right now and that it is ok – now what can we do about it? I will leave you to calm down until you are ready to talk and I will be right here waiting.

The Highly Sensitive Child Labels and Irony

Ban all labels in your home. Labels and names are sticky. Once you have labeled a child ‘the naughty one’, the ‘shy one’ or the ‘the sensitive one’, you will find that your child will start living it up to their label. Rather, allow your child to be who they are supposed to be without labels. Just let them be! The same idea and attitude go for sarcasm and irony as well. Don’t use it on your children. You may have noticed that these tips are not much different from how we recommend disciplining every child. That is because while some children are more emotionally and physically sensitive than others, all children have sensitive hearts that deserve to be treated gently.
Categories
Development

When do babies crawl? 5 important steps you should learn.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that babies love to get around. And more importantly, we can agree that they’re not very good at it. That’s why as a new parent, babysitter, or anyone really, it is necessary to understand the why’s and the how’s of babies’ movements.

According to child development experts, one of the most common questions they get is: at what age do babies crawl? While there is no definite time mark, the first time a baby will try to move on its own could be anywhere from six to ten months. However, some babies may start earlier or later than others. This does not always mean that there’s something wrong with your baby; sometimes they’ve just got places to be!

The first thing we have to understand about crawling is – it’s not exactly a programmed part of a baby’s development. In fact, some babies will skip crawling altogether. Before their legs are strong enough to hold them up, babies will experiment with different ways of moving. So while some babies will crawl like we’re used to seeing, others may prefer alternative movement methods like: scooting, rolling or cruising. So if your baby is not crawling, don’t panic as long as they keep it moving. However, if you’re insistent on crawling, there might be a way to teach them to do this.

How to Teach Babies to Crawl

Teaching babies to crawl is not something most parents or child development specialists may ever get to do. In most cases, your baby will figure it out on their own; however, a few babies might need a nudge. If you’re looking to give your baby the nudge, you’re in luck because I have a few tips that could help.

First things first, teaching a baby to crawl is less about teaching and more about giving them room to learn on their own. Also, before you start teaching, you have to ensure that they are ready. You can do this by asking and answering the following questions:

  • Can your baby support their head on their own?
  • Can they roll over on their own?
  • Can they sit up on their own?

If the answers to these questions are yes, then we can assume that your baby is ready to get moving.

With babies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the academic information out there. Sometimes, the most reassuring information comes from those who have done it before – I’m talking about other parents. That’s why in this post, we’ll be discussing tips as shared by other parents.

On his YouTube channel, Dad’s Dad talks about tips and tricks that were effective in teaching his baby to crawl.

Now let’s get right to it.

  1. Let your baby have as much floor and tummy time as possible. In order for babies to develop the necessary motor skills, they need to spend as much time on their tummies as possible. At first this might be uncomfortable for them because they won’t be able to control their bodies in this position. You’ll have to introduce it to them in little doses. You can start with a few minutes daily. Over time, they’ll build the necessary core strength to hold themselves up. They’ll start figuring out how to lift and support their heads. To help them further, try to make floor and tummy time fun for them. You could place toys on the floor around them, pat them softly or even get down to their level. All of this will help your baby develop muscles in their back, arms and legs to help them crawl.
  2. Motivate them with toys. Like we earlier discussed, babies will not instantly fall in love with tummy time. You have to figure out how to motivate them and toys are a great way to do that. When we say toys, it could be anything from a soft foam play mat to everyday items that your baby finds interesting. For example, if your baby finds the covers of plastic jars interesting, you could leave them around during tummy time. Just keep an eye on them so that they do not injure or arm themselves.
  3. Make the most of nursing pillows. Nursing pillows are simply horseshoe-shaped pillows that provide support during breastfeeding. The pillows are placed around the mid-section and then the babies are placed on the pillows. This will help to bring the baby to the right height for breastfeeding as well as provide support to your back. Now according to Dad’s Dad, nursing pillows can be used for so much more. By simply placing the pillow on the floor and tucking the baby in the pillow, you are teaching your baby to get comfortable in that position. The pillow provides them with the support they need to hold their bodies up. With time, your baby will figure out that they can hold these positions even when the nursing pillows are absent. You might even notice them trying to climb over the pillows after a little while.
  4. Try different locations. Although this one might seem tricky, it is really helpful as long as you’re supervising them. So instead of restricting tummy time to just the floor or play mat, try the bed or even the changing table. To make this easier, dress them in long sleeves and pants. Clothes on any smooth surface would make scooting easier and inspire them to get around. You could also switch things up by making a game out of it. During the next tummy time, try creating a pillow fort around your baby. As they attempt to crawl over the fort, they’re building strength and learning to explore.
  5. Encourage your baby. The one thing most of us do not know is that babies are actually more intelligent than we give them credit for. They pick up on our actions, our reactions and they can always tell when something is going well or not. When you show excitement at your baby’s crawl attempt, they would be encouraged to keep trying. So cheer them on whenever they try to move (even if they’re not exactly good at it). You could get other family members to join in too. You could even play their favourite song whenever you notice them trying to move. The constant encouragement will let them know that they’re doing something right, and even if they’re not, that’s okay too.

While you go on to try these tricks, always remember – safety first. While you’re letting your baby explore movement, make sure they are minimum risk of danger. Baby-proof your house if you need to, keep your floors clean and dry, and most importantly, do not leave them unattended.

When Do Babies Start to Crawl

Okay, so we’re all caught up on how to get them to crawl. Now let’s talk about the different crawling stages that you should look out for.

The first one is the rollover. This usually starts at around four moths and it involves rolling from side to side. Most babies will go through this stage as they learn to roll from their tummies to their back and vice versa. Before your baby masters the full rollover, you will notice them rocking from side to side. This is the foundation for rolling as they are learning their bodies and how to use it.

The next stage is the frustrated swimmer. If you’ve been around a few babies, you’ll notice them trying to move their bodies forward by flailing their legs and hands. You should also notice them express some frustration at failing delightfully at this. But that’s okay, at the end of the day, we’re all human.

After a couple of weeks, they would start to enjoy tummy time. It no longer feels uncomfortable for them and they’re finally getting the hang of things.

At about five months old, they should start getting comfortable on their tummy. Once they are comfortable, they will begin to explore getting on their knees. You may also notice them pushing up on their elbows when placed on their stomach. At this stage your baby has figured out how to support their head on their own. They are now building the strength to support their weight on their hands and knees.

Once they get comfortable on their knees, you should notice them trying to shuffle from place to place. This almost looks like crawling but slow down, they’re not there yet. This is more belly and elbow movements than it is crawling.

At around the six month mark, you should notice them doing what experts would call “the horse”. They simply get on their hands and knees and hold that position. Soon enough they would start rocking back and forth or side to side. You should be getting excited at this point because it means that your baby is almost ready to crawl.

Now that they’re comfortable on their knees, the next step is holding up their weight. Every now and then, you would see them holding a plank or a push up position. This is just them getting used to supporting their weight on their own. The moment your baby has mastered how to support their weight, they are ready to go!

All of these stages could occur anytime between six and ten months; but once they start, they never stop. Once your baby masters the art of crawling, you need to pay extra attention to safety because these little creatures are always on the move. Also, you have to ensure that their hands and knees are always protected from injury. I’m talking onesies, long pants, long sleeves, clean floors, anything to make sure that crawling does not cause them injury.

When Should I Be Worried?

As we’ve earlier discussed, some babies will start crawling later than others and some may skip crawling entirely. So just because your baby is six months old and still not crawling, doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. As long they’re showing signs of progress in their motor skills, they should be fine. However, if by the 12 month mark, they have shown  no signs of movement, you may need to call your paediatrician. More importantly, nobody knows your baby like you do. If at any point you feel like something is wrong, you should probably schedule that appointment. If there’s a problem, the earlier it is detected, the sooner it can be figured out.

 

 

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