Resources for parenting a highly sensitive kid?

Short story: I'm desperately looking for parenting resources specific to highly sensitive kids - a support or parent groups, online classes or forums, someone that discussed in coaching, even other parents to talk and compare notes with! I found a few podcasts that discuss HSP kids but nothing beyond that.

Long story: we knew our kid was really sensitive (emotions, transitions and noises) but the arrival of second baby has turned our house into a daytime soap opera 24hrs a day - getting him out the door for preschool is a NIGHTMARE. I didn't realize HSP was a thing until looking online for tips on how to discipline a toddler that feels so deeply - he's crushed and ashamed when he makes a mistake, most boundaries are us "being not kind", even the tiniest transition sends him thru the roof, and he won't sleep in his bed anymore because he's too lonely and sad. So many strategies, like Positive Parenting, just aren't as applicable when he's having these really emotional responses. My kid is also an extreme extrovert, which I know now is 30% if HSP's but that made it harder to figure out. My wife and I are exhausted and sleep deprived, just trying to figure out how to support but also create manageable boundaries around this little dude that feels things so deeply. Any thoughts, resources or tips are greatly appreciated!

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Sorry to hear you are going through this. Have you consulted your pediatrician? S/he should be able to refer you to many resources. Under my insurance (Kaiser) I realized I even had access to a developmental nurse that I could consult over the phone. I also had a very sensitive child, and one of the best pieces of advice I was given was actually through a mom on an online forum. She had 4 children, and whenever she felt one (or all) of her kids was acting out or felt unbalanced, she would go through a mental check list. I forget the exact check list but it went something like this:
1) Do I need to adjust my child's bedtime or naptime so my child gets more sleep?
2) Do I need to adjust my child's food so my child gets more balanced and nutritious meals and snacks?
3) Do I need to adjust how much exercise or outdoor time my child is getting?
4) Do I need to reduce my child's screentime?
The idea is to control what you can control, and you'll be surprised how much difference those small changes can make. I would add, as a parent of a sensitive child, that any screentime at all absolutely triggered my son's meltdowns. Until he was mid-elementary he was given no more than 10 minutes of screen a day. If you are really struggling, I would cut screentime completely. I know it seems counterintuitive, because you are dying for some down time, but trust me, it REALLY makes a huge difference. It is also something you can implement immediately, does not require medication, and costs nothing. Try it! BTW, my son is now 10 and he can watch TV without meltdowns, so this is not forever.
 

Hello. I have a parent friend I met at my kid's preschool who is highly sensitive as is one of her children. She recommends Elaine Aron's books. You can read more about highly sensitive people and take a quiz to see if you yourself are highly sensitive here: https://hsperson.com/, or for resources for parents of HSC here: https://hsperson.com/resources/for-parents-of-hsps/

Good luck on your journey!

That is super hard. And, I appreciate feeling like you are at the end of the rope. Our pediatrician suggested our four year old might have sensory issues. She has historically been bothered by loud noises, quick transitions, many foods, certain--ok most--clothing, little ouchies that felt like massive injuries, had big feelings, etc. So, pediatrician recommended pediatric occupational therapy. We have been working with a therapist at Child's Play Therapy Services (https://www.cptherapyservices.com) once a week for about six months and see some major progress. You might reach out to them for a consultation. I will note it's pricey, and Child's Play will not directly bill insurance. That said, we've been lucky enough to get some reimbursed through insurance ourselves and submit the remainder to our FSA.

We had a similar experience with our son when he was younger. We lived in the Seattle area at the time and our son saw a pediatric OT for sensory issues for years. No only did they work with him, they were very supportive of us and helped us to deal with a lot of his issues. I haven't tried this place in Lafayette, but it looks similar to the place we used to take our child in the Seattle area. Our insurance covered most of the therapy. Child's Play Therapy Services, PC - Child's Play Occupational Therapy Serives (cptherapyservices.com)

I don't have any specific parenting resources for you but wanted to respond to this, as you're totally describing our now 8 year old when he was your child's age! Super tough to parent these sweet sensitive kiddos, and it sounds like you're doing an amazing job of being responsive to his needs. FWIW, our boy went through a very similar developmental stage at around age 2 or 3 (getting him into pajamas or clothes or out the door for anything was an absolute nightmare) which resolved on its own, though we do still have a little fold-out bed besides ours where he can come and sleep when he gets lonely at night. He's now grown into completely delightful, loving and extroverted 8 y/o with an EQ that is through the roof and a great group of friends. He is still occasionally off-the-charts emotional, and we are working with a therapist to give both him and us some tools to handle his big emotions, which has helped immensely (wish we had done this sooner). As he's grown, we've also realized that the traditional school setting is not the right fit for the way he is built as a little human (again, wish we had realized this sooner), so are in the process of enrolling him in a school structured specifically for gifted sensitive kids.

All that said, it does get easier! Bravo to you and your wife for being so responsive to your little guy's needs, and best of luck on the parenting journey.