How to Tell if Your Child is Highly Sensitive

If your child's highly sensitive, they're different from others because they have qualities that make them perceive things more intensely.
How to Tell if Your Child is Highly Sensitive

Last update: 29 August, 2022

All children are different and each has its own personality traits. Among them, we can find HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) children. These children perceive things more intensely and overstimulation can cause them stress. Keep reading to find out if your child is highly sensitive.

Many parents realize that their children have a special gift and that they’re different from others because of the way they perceive things. They’re children who see the world in a different way than the rest. It’s important to know how to detect this characteristic in children in order to establish effective communication with them and provide them with an education tailored to their abilities and skills. We’ll tell you more about it below.

What is a highly sensitive child?

All human beings perceive and feel emotions, but highly sensitive children do it more intensely than the rest. They’re little ones who have great empathy and are sensitive to the smallest details. In addition, they’re overwhelmed by overstimulation. They’re usually very interested in art and are very creative. In some cases, they may have one of their senses more developed than the rest.

High sensitivity is hereditary. That’s why several people in the same family may be susceptible. This occurs because the neurosensory system of these people is more developed and, therefore, receives more information than the rest, but they tend to be fragile in stressful situations such as being bullied. At the same time, it’s normal for parents of highly sensitive children to need support for their children’s education.

A child making a craft with cardboard.
Highly sensitive children are intelligent and very creative. In many cases, they show a special interest in art.

The characteristics of highly sensitive children

The commonly used term is HSP, but HSC was coined to refer to highly sensitive children. Here are some of the characteristics that can help us recognize these little ones.

They’re very emotional

They experience emotions, both positive and negative, with great intensity and aren’t afraid to show them at any time. This quality is beneficial, as their thinking, most of the time, is positive, which makes them cope better with complicated situations.

They can reach emotional oversaturation

This is due to the fact that their sensory thresholds are lower than others, so they perceive more stimuli. One of the negative aspects of this characteristic is that they tend to suffer from anxiety and stress, as this causes neuronal overactivation. In addition, they’re children who empathize and reflect more than others, while feeling their emotions, sometimes in an uncontrolled way.

Their senses are more receptive and open

The senses of highly sensitive children are much more developed because they’re able to focus on a stimulus or a subject and process it in a better way. Thus, they pay attention to small details that may go unnoticed by other youngsters. However, this has a disadvantage for them, as they can’t maintain physical contact for a long time or stay still in one place.

They get overwhelmed in certain environments

Highly sensitive children tend to get irritated in places where there’s a lot of noise or too many lights. Also, in crowds or if there’s too much noise, they feel dazed. In general, this causes them to distance themselves in search of a quieter place.

They’re very intelligent

HSC children are highly intelligent, both cognitively and emotionally. They have a good capacity for perception, analysis, and reflection and are very intuitive, as well as creative. It should be noted that these aspects make them have a tendency toward perfectionism, so when something doesn’t go well, frustration appears.

How can I know if my child is highly sensitive?

A little girl bending over to talk to a smaller boy curled up on a stump in a park.
Children who are highly sensitive are more sensitive to their own pain and that of others In general, they’re more empathetic than other children and have deeper reflections.

Next, we’re going to give you a series of sentences that you must answer yes or no to. If there are 13 or more positive answers, your child is more likely to be highly sensitive:

  1. Doesn’t cope well with big changes.
  2. Is easily startled.
  3. Is a perfectionist.
  4. If they notice that their clothes are wet or sandy, they want to change them.
  5. They don’t like big surprises.
  6. They ask a lot of questions.
  7. They have a preference for quiet play.
  8. Seems to be a mind reader.
  9. Learns more and better from gentle correction than from harsh punishment.
  10. Is bothered by the seams of socks or labels on clothes, among other details.
  11. Has a vocabulary that doesn’t correspond to his age.
  12. Immediately notices the suffering of others.
  13. Has a great sensitivity to pain.
  14. Asks very deep questions.
  15. Feels everything deeply.
  16. Has a very witty sense of humor.
  17. Has great intuition.
  18. Isn’t comfortable in noisy places.
  19. Has a hard time sleeping after a day of great excitement.
  20. Notices even the faintest smell.
  21. Perceives the most delicate things. For example, an object that has moved or a change in a person’s appearance.
  22. When there are no strangers present, they’re at their best.
  23. Considers safety before doing something that puts them in danger.

About highly sensitive children we can say that…

Highly sensitive children possess certain qualities that make them perceive things more intensely. However, they have the same right as everyone else to have a fun, loving, responsible, and rule-bound childhood. A highly sensitive child can bring parents great challenges, but, surely, also many satisfactions.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.