‘How to Grow a Visionary’ – My New Book for Parents of Highly Sensitive Children

Who are our highly sensitive children? Might they be visionaries? This is the question I ask myself every morning. Why does my son fall to the floor with fatigue and a low mood if we can’t find the ‘right’ thing to do? Why is my son so sound sensitive that I sometimes don’t dare speak but when he is having fun and in his ‘zone’ he hardly seems to be aware of external stimulus at all? Why does my son notice every single pigeon that enters our garden and stand entranced by their beauty and their softness but screams if a fly buzzes in his ear? Why does he come alive when he is telling his story in music, movement, words and art but can’t bear the thought of doing anything by the book, speaking other people’s words or competing with others?

For the last 2 years I have been digging deep into these questions having already dug deep to work with myself over the previous 16 years. I have finally birthed my ideas in a book ‘You and Your Sensitive Child – How to Grow a Visionary!’ I really want to share this with you and hope that it answers some of the questions, conundrums and contradictions in your life too.

Free from Amazon for 2 days ~~ 24th and 25th Aug. ~~ If you you find my book helpful please be kind enough to write a review. Thanks ūüôā

Visionary Book front cover Aug

Link takes you to Amazon UK but also available in other countries.

 

a day at ferne animal santury with friends

A story by Luca Williams (nearly 9)

a few weeks ago ¬†i went ¬†to ferne¬†animal santury with some new friends we have only met them 2 times one at sutton bingom there’s good turf there and we had 2 bike, 1 scooter and 1 go-cart but that’s a completely¬†different story. there is ella, grace and ashley. ¬†ashley is very¬†energetic he runs. wen we wen’t to see the pigs ashley closed the gate and held it shut he¬†thought we were going in with the pigs but we stayed on the path. then we saw the play¬†ar497730-pigea i were scared of the climbing rope first but then i started climbing it on the first go i hit my knee on the climbing rope i was fine i tried to climb the rope and i did then we saw a wishing well and we each withed for something what a amazing day and overcame some fears.

 

Sensory Processing Disorders – A Healer’s Perspective.

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I woke up this morning to the sound of the alarm on my husband’s phone – a sound that I had chosen as the one I could tolerate the most. After using it for 6 months I no longer even think about my feelings about the sound. I just know it means ‘morning’ and morning is a good thing because I am happy with my life. I ran a bath from the shower head and put my few grains of vitamin c powder in to cancel out the chlorine. I use the shower head because if I use the taps I have water droplets that haven’t been cancelled out in the air for longer. Once the shower head is submerged everything is good. I heard the satisfying click of the shampoo bottle and poured out my no scent shampoo – except to me it doesn’t have no scent. It smells to me of fresh meadows every morning. When I’d bathed I reached for my towel and felt a little disappointed because my new deep pile cotton towel has very quickly become rough feeling to my skin. But it is warm and does wrap around me and dry me and so I let it off the hook! Then I dressed – in the clothes I have carefully chosen because they are soft, in colours that I love and are right for my mood and the season.as I see it. They are plain or have patterns that please my eye and my heart. I ate my breakfast – sourdough toast (because I can only digest wheat when fermented), ¬†butter (the only dairy I can tolerate apart from sheep’s cheese) and strawberry jam (no added sugar for obvious reasons!). It really was delicious and a very ¬†good way to start every day for me.

In only half an hour I had encountered colour, sound, smell, touch, taste and of course my feelings. I’ve already encountered several challenges but it’s ok.

Life is to be encountered and embraced.

Listen the the World. Take your child to a waterfall, to the sea, let them hear the wind in the trees, talk about the sound of the bath running and the shampoo bottle, the sound of scissors on paper, having their hair brushed, the noise of the marble on the marble run, the sound of bacon sizzling in a pan, the hum of the computer, the buzz of a bee. They may like or not like these things but it is an adventure finding out. Do this with all your child’s senses – smell the bacon and the seaweed together, ¬†taste the strawberry and the gooseberry, ¬†touch the rough bark on the tree and the smooth pebble, feel your frustration and your sadness as well as your success and your happiness. Share your feelings. Talk about your feelings. Dance them, paint them, rap them . . .

Think before you offer noise cancelling headphones, white noise CD’s, weighted blankets, joint compression, pushing, pulling, lifting, seam free clothing, screened workstations – Could you help your child by simply helping them to embrace LIFE?

 

 

 

The Highly Sensitive Child – A Healer’s Perspective.

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Highly Sensitive Children are the Visionaries of today. They are born with a bigger journey to make than other people. This is why highly sensitive people struggle as children.

When I look at sensitive children I see their energy as not being as robust as other children. Their energy appears low and they can appear disconnected to themselves. I first saw this in my son when he was 5. He was with a friend who appeared so robust and grounded. My son appeared like a shadow, a waif beside him. I thought how strange that was as I felt we had raised our son to be confident and secure. I let it go but 2 years later my son started to really struggle with daily life and became unwell with chronic fatigue.

Since this time I have met other people with sensitive children and they all seem to have this same energy pattern. They appear ‘low’ in energy and disconnected to themselves. Despite being low in energy though they appear to have a certain tension. Where other children have soft floppy limbs a sensitive child will often hold their limbs differently – a little more tight, a little more defended.

So how can we help our HSC’s find their strength being their authentic selves?

If Highly Sensitive Children are the visionaries of today then they must need vision. To have vision they need to feel a sense of journey and meaning to their life. To do this they need space and our help. We need to keep exploring their journey together with them and give space and time for it to unfold. We mustn’t try to fix everything now for them. It is about the journey.

Highly Sensitive Children need to express, express and express some more! Because authenticity is everything to them everything needs to come from their heart. It’s ok to have computer time but make up a story using a programming/animation tool and let it come from your heart. Play the keyboard but not from the book. Try out the sound, find ones you like, put on a backing track and play from your heart. Dance the simple stories of your life, dance just for the fun of dancing, dance to the music you created with the keyboard. Paint your feelings about life, not what you see. Get abstract. Speak about something you’re passionate about with every fibre of your being, Shout it, rap it, sing it, video it. Children need us to lead the way in this. To help them develop their authentic selves we need to find our inner child and our authentic self..

Expression helps sensitive children find their voice. Finding their voice helps them find their power to be themselves. When we have the power to be ourselves we find we have confidence to connect with the world.

Our Highly Sensitive Children don’t know who they are yet, who they going to grow to become. We don’t know who they are either. All we can do is help them find their voice!

It’s quite simple really, EXPLORE, EXPRESS, RELATE and then of course don’t forget to REST !! This is how to grow a visionary x

High Sensitivity and Stimulation – Help with the 3 Jangles!

Here are 3 ways to help you and/or your highly sensitive child feel better when they’re feeling distressed, anxious or just jangled.

It is important to remember that when we have felt ‘jangled’ we need to drink in from the world to feel better. The following ¬†activities are ones where we can just ‘be. We don’t need to ‘give’ and we don’t need to ‘achieve’. We need to explain this to our children because our tendency is often to be doing things for a ‘big’ reason and our children pick this up and feel that everything must be very significant. It is up to to us to show them that we can just ‘be’.¬†

There are lots of ways we can ‘be’ to help ourselves feel better when have felt ‘jangled’and here are some of them.

SENSORY OVER-LOAD

When we have been in a busy environment like shopping or to the hairdressers we will have been open to all sorts of stimulus – sound, visual, bodily sensations, smells and feelings of our own and those of other people. As highly sensitive it is usual to feel ‘phased’ after this sort of outing.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

goggles cropped

Have a bath and do lots of pouring of water. 

Change your clothes (that may feel charged with the outing)  and wear something comforting.

Spend time with animals.

Play with sand, pebbles or stones.

Go in the garden.

Go for a walk.

Walk/play in the rain.

These things will all calm you and/or your child down. They feel refreshing and revitalising.

UNDER-STIMULATION

Pebbles 1

When we have been in an environment where we don’t feel that we have had the right kind of stimulation we can end up feeling under-stimulated which makes us feel out of sorts.. This may be when we have been with people who don’t inspire us or we have been doing something that doesn’t feel creative or deep feeling enough for us.¬†

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Play with water – make bubbles, play water flutes, splash, pour and spray water.

Play with marbles – making sounds by running our hand over the marbles, rolling marbles together, pouring marbles onto a tea towel (to prevent too much noise!).

Play with shells – put them in water and move them with your hands. Look at the colours.

Play with sand and pebbles  Рpouring and shaking  using tubes and containers.

Play with water beads, running them through your hands in water.

Play with images. Look up favourite pictures of something on google images. Watch a TV programme that inspires creativity – cooking, art, gardening, sewing, pottery etc.

Play with fabric. Make up simple playful stories using inspiration from different coloured pieces of felt.

Listen to inspiring but relaxing music.

Energetic outdoor play e.g. football, tennis, skipping, jumping.

These ways to ‘be’ will all help you and/or your child to feel more energised and will lift your mood.

FEELINGS / INFORMATION OVERLOAD

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When we have taken on a lot of information for instance have been looking up things on the internet (or writing blog posts!), we can feel a bit ‘phased’ and as if our brains are on ‘full’. When we have been with people who are struggling with life and exuding negativity we can feel a bit ‘phased’ and as if our hearts or on ‘full’.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Anything that is rhythmic and stimulates the senses:-

Chopping vegetables.

Sorting buttons.

Arranging beads.

Helping with simple things in the home.

Pairing socks.

Planting seeds / Weeding a flower bed.

Listening to gentle, rhythmic music.

Rhythmic outdoor play (not too energetic!)  e.g. catch, badminton, swingball.

These ways to ‘be’ will help you and/or your child to find your state of equilibrium. The clutter of the information or feeling of overload will have a chance to settle and re-organise itself. You will feel refreshed and your thinking will become clear again.

TWO PEOPLE – DIFFERENT NEEDS?

If you and your child are feeling different things – one is over stimulated and one is under-stimulated then you could meet in the middle by doing rhythmic things. My son asked for marbles in water the other day and I found the sound and the movement unbearable so I managed to persuade him to make patterns with beads around the table instead.. I felt so much better and he was happy too ūüôā

WHEN WE’VE HAD A VERY JANGLY DAY!

When we we wake up tired from ‘the jangles’ of the day before sometimes we need to de-jangle ourselves all day long. We limit screen time more than we usually do and move between the ‘3 dejanglers’ all day. That way we regain our sense of balance without feeling that we have had to have a day of rest or nothing which can be boring and lead to low mood, motivation and energy.

It is all about finding the ‘right kind’ of stimulation! Happy De-jangling!

 

Know Your Purpose For it Will Unlock Your Voice!

There is so much noise in today‚Äôs world that maybe children are not able to hear themselves any more ‚Äď their own feelings, tastes, thoughts and opinions. Some are happy to ¬†take on other‚Äôs thoughts and opinions and have become followers of other people ‚Äď like celebrities. But others are rebelling and saying ‚ÄúPlease be quiet. I want to hear what‚Äôs in my own head.‚ÄĚ

 

Sensitive, Soulful Children – The Visionaries of Today!

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Who is Your Sensitive Child?

Soulful children often have a lot to say. They may or may not find this easy to verbalise.¬†They may be individualists or team players or both. They may not like being part of a large group as they (1)¬†don‚Äôt like the feeling that they ‚Äėdisappear‚Äô¬†(2)¬†can be¬†hyper-sensitive to stimulus because they are experiencing it as interruption. A busy environment and¬†external stimuli prevents them from hearing their own voice and speaking their own truth.¬†

boy teaching

Soulful chidren like to inspire others. The combination of their helpful nature¬†and their natural connection with their heart and their passion tends to make them good teachers. They can become down-hearted if they don’t have the opportunity to inspire others and can find¬†it difficult to accept that others may not be inspired by the things they are passionate about.¬†

Soulful children can appear willful because they have a strong sense of inner knowing about what is right and what is right for them. 

drums

The soulful child likes to ‘shine’. They know there¬†is greatness inside of them and they are always looking for people and situations to help them realise¬†their¬†greatness.¬†

Given time, patience, understanding and the right encouragement we can help our soulful children embrace their calling to be the visionaries of today.

So . . How Do You Raise a Visionary?

There is no formular – it is a way of life –¬†and here are some suggestions to help your child to find their¬†power to be themselves, connect with their passion and purpose and find their voice. Don’t forget they need time . . get ready for an exciting ride where everyone in the family has to dig deep . . .this is a long journey!

Your child need lots of the following:-

child with ruck sack 1 warning water marks!

Time to Explore

Journey 

Your soulful child knows he/she is on a journey. They want routine to help them feel safe and secure but need enough flexibility to allow their journey to unfold day by day. They need to feel they can:-

Be ‚Äėin the moment‚Äô and do what is important to them in that moment.

Change their plans based on how they feel or others feel, have enough space to puzzle out what would be best for them to do next.

Follow their energy and their inspiration.

Live according to their rhythm – daily and seasonally.

Meaning 

Soulful children like to explore the wider world. However they don‚Äôt like to call it ‚Äėlearning‚Äô. They like to call it exploring and to explore something when it feels meaningful and significant to them. This can be frustrating for parents as we tend to want to offer our children lots of different experiences and pass on lots of information and knowledge. This doesn‚Äôt work for soulful children. They are only happy experiencing things that feel relevant to them and their journey. In addition all the activities we offer our soulful children need to have the ‚Äėright kind of stimulation‚Äô for your child in that moment and be ‚Äėdeep feeling‚Äô.¬†

Soulful children like to find meaning in life. They particularly like to make connections between feelings and sensations, ¬†feelings and memories, feelings and ideas ¬†because they tend to see the bigger picture of life. It is important to soulful children to learn but they know they must do it in a way that is meaningful for them. They don‚Äôt see learning as separate to life ‚Äď it is life – all part of the journey.¬†However they see life as more than learning. First and foremost it is to be experienced at its full,¬†simply lived. Soulful children understand that it is best to simply ‚Äėbe‚Äô.

Deeper Feelings

We can‚Äôt give a soulful child a skillset and expect them to learn how to use it. For example if someone or something upsets them, reasoning with them about the situation ‚Ästtalking about fairness or sharing may not be enough. We need to try to understand their deeper feelings and find a solution that is relational, creative and feels good to them. This usually involves talking about teamwork and the importance of understanding the feelings of all involved.

Knowing

Soulful children have a strong sense of what is right for them in any moment and we need to honour this quality in them whilst at the same time helping them to live as part of a family or team and learn a degree of tolerance for others‚Äô tastes and opinions. We need to understand that for a soulful child it is not about ‚Äėgetting their way‚Äô. They are actually feeling a need to respond to a deep sense of ‚Äėknowing‚Äô inside themselves.

A soulful child may resist perfection not because they ‚Äėgive up‚Äô or are defeated but because it would detract from the soulfulness. For instance a child may work with their photographs on the computer and in the re-sizing decide than they like the ‚Äėdistorted‚Äô look rather than the ‚Äėperfect‚Äô ratio look. They could correct the proportions but they choose the image that looks ‚Äėright‚Äô to them. They may not feel the need to write everything correctly or create drafts and improve things. Again we need to create a balance by inviting the soulful child to the possibilities of making improvements but not insisting on this way forward.

play butterfly

Time to Play 

Soulful children need to play a lot and often.  They feel their happiest when they are in touch with their inner child. Even as young as 7 or 8 children can start to lose touch with their inner child. The soulful child knows that this an important part of who they are. They want to play for the sake of play. They will often resist our efforts to try to mix play with learning.

As they get older soulful children realise that intensity is fun and energising. They crave it. They also realise how good they feel when they give. They pour their heart and soul into life and creativity.  We need to remind them to do low key things including play where they can chill out and not feel the need to give.

Playing with technology can feed into a soulful’s child desire for perfection. It is easy for them to delete mistakes and reform things. They then may reject the idea of creating things with their hands or building lego models. Technology is a good outlet for our intense creatives but I suggest we also encourage them to play with things where they can see ‘see’ and ‘feel’ their mistakes and be pleased with ‘the small things’¬†

child dancing

Time to Create РExpress from their Heart

A soulful child constantly seeks connection and engagement and they connect and engage through their 6 senses (number 6 being intuition) and expressing their heart through movement, art, words and sound.

Soulful children are creative and have a need to express themselves. They would rather paint their feelings than a vase of flowers. They like things that have story to them. We could buy pebbles from the sensory shop but they wouldn’t have a story.  We need to find them on the beach. They feel things deeply and this includes feeling the harsher things in the world more strongly than others. Therefore they like soft things and soft voices and they will look for cosiness in a blanket or a cuddle and when outside may prefer the protection of a shelter, tent or gazebo to being out in the open. A soulful child lives for stimulation which they experience as connection and engagement. Here are some some thoughts and ideas to help your soulful child stay happy and healthy:-

Words

Create¬†feeling stories based on a personal experience¬†‚Äď focusing on what you experience through your senses

Speak about something that is important to you deep down. Make a video of yourself speaking.                            

Make up¬†a special sign language just for your family to communicate everyday things like ‚Äėtidy up time‚Äô ‚Äėcan I have a snack please‚Äô, ‚Äėplease don‚Äôt talk right now‚Äô.¬†(Soulful children don’t like constant commands and chatter, They like to save their energy for talking about things that feel important to them)

Sounds in the Environment

Respond in movement or art to recorded sounds

Make up sound stories using things found in the house eg. marbles.

Music

Find, Collect and Keep music that you like

Listen¬†to¬†and¬†Respond¬†to different¬†music¬†‚Äď paint, tell a story, dance, lie still, join in on some sort of instrument or body percussion (eg clapping)

Create feeling music, Record and Move to it Р the taste of an apple, the feeling of a waterfall, the smell of roses, the softness of love.

Listen to music while working on a project together

Silence

Close your eyes and listen to the silence.

Enjoy listening to the stillness while working on a project together.

Art

Find, Collect and Keep pictures and photos that you like

Find photos which express you feeling your happiest doing different things and create a poster about you.

Create feeling paintings. Paint the taste of a strawberry, the feeling of hail, the smell of bacon, the softness of a hug.

Find¬†and¬†Collect¬†things from nature ‚Äď leaves, shells etc. and use these as inspiration for¬†painting.

Find¬†and¬†collect¬†bits and pieces from an interesting shop¬†and choose some inexpensive things that you are drawn to ‚Äď use these as¬†inspiration¬†for a project.

Talk about the feeling of colour and the feeling of shape

Look¬†at a painting you have created and see if you see anything with your¬†‚Äėinner eyes‚Äô.

Movement.

Create and Record dances to your favourite music/sounds.

Tell a personal story using movement

Tell the story of shape, colour, texture, pattern and rhythm through movement

Create¬†a¬†feeling dance to music ‚Äď Dance the taste of a grape, the feeling of a hug, the smell of a strawberry, the softness of a cat.

Talk about the meaning of a dance you have created.

Touch

Find and collect things that ‘feel ‘ good ¬†(materials, pebbles, feathers, glass beads etc.)

Explore different ways of being touched and held

Make shapes with another person using your bodies

Combine materials with music or dance with scarves

Create feeling stories using object with different textures.

Play with healing touch on another person and experience  it for yourself.

baking 2

Time for Personal Passions – A Chance to Shine!

Soulful children have a strong sense of who they are and what they need. If something ‚Äėlights up their passion‚Äô they will pursue it to the ends of the earth! I suggest we try our best to facilitate our child‚Äôs passion, moderate it if necessary so it fits with or own ethos, decide on the duration that feels right and teach our child about the importance of balance when it comes to activities.

A soulful child doesn‚Äôt really have ‚Äėfailure‚Äô in their vocabulary. The concept makes no sense to them. They know that they have intrinsic value and this is always greater than their achievements. However because their expression comes from such a deep and heart-felt place they feel vulnerable and tend to constantly wonder whether that expression is seen as good enough in other people‚Äôs eyes. This can make them very perfectionistic and they like and need a lot of affirmation that both them and their creations are good enough. In fact ‚Äėgood enough ‚Äėisn‚Äôt really OK! Soulful children¬†need to feel that they make a very special contribution to the world and only then are they really happy!

hugging

Time to Relate

Family

From the moment your soulful child wakes in the morning they are looking to connect with you. Their favourite toy doesn‚Äôt cut it and if they can‚Äôt connect with you they will choose a virtual connection and watch television. Try doing a morning story in bed ‚Äď this works wonders.

Your child may go off at different times in the day to do some of their own thing but it won’t be long before they are back at your side, wanting to do something with you! Try setting time aside for self play and let your child know exactly when they they can have your undivided attention.

Community

Soulful children also need to feel part of their wider family and community and like to feel that this connection is meaningful. They enjoy engaging through play with family members, ¬†having a few close friends and knowing that there are other people they can connect with ‚Äď neighbours, shop¬†assistants, etc. They also like to feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to family and society. They enjoy being part of big projects and some things to try are joining with your child to put on an art exhibition, go busking or simply write a book of stories and publish them together as an e-book.

Belonging

Soulful children feel a sense of responsibility for those around them so they like being included in family decisions where possible.They quickly learn what everyone in the family likes to eat, their favourite colour to wear and favourite programmes on television. They see it as part of their job to help other members of the family have what they need. So although doing the weekly Waitrose food order will teach your child to type and do maths, to the soulful child it is all about involvement and having a sense of belonging.

Chat with family and friends

Play games with family and friends (inside/outside)

Travel and Visit interesting places with family and friends

Help with daily home activities Рorder food, choose recipes, cook, garden and wash clothes and dishes.

Help¬†with occasional home activities¬†–¬†tidy, sort, record, share, give away, sell and make room for the new

Create photo albums and videos

child in field

Time to Rest and Recharge

A soulful child needs more rest than other children because they are more open to themselves and their environment and need to constantly process their thoughts, feelings and feelings in their body and their environment to feel OK. However except when they are asleep they will look for rest that is stimulating! For example:-

Watch relaxing television

Listen to nature sounds

Lay under or on a soft blanket

Watch coloured lights

Play in the bath or with water

Play with sand

Play with pebbles /marbles / buttons / beads (sometimes combine these with water)

Be in nature

This is not a time to create or express – simply to experience.

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Time to Process Feelings and Heal Wounds

Soulful children know who they like to spend time with¬†and are not so sure about others. They tend to ‘pick up’ other people’s feelings. This can cause a change in their behaviour or they may seem fatigued or distanced until they have spoken about what is bothering them.¬†

Soulful children are also more affected by people atmospheres than other children.  They know where they like to go but are not sure abut other places. They might love somewhere on a sunny summer’s day and hate it on a dull grey day in winter. 

Soulful children¬†need help¬†to learn how to understand and manage difficult¬†feelings and a chance to express them. They do this best through play. They¬†also need encouragement to revisit situations that may for them have become tinted with a feeling of negativity. It‚Äôs not just what we call ‚Äėnegative association‚Äô. They are remembering a time when their soulful self felt jarred and this charged feeling remains with them.

A note about words to choose when inviting your child to an activity.

Use words that suggest creativity:-

Create, Make, Make up

Use words that suggest keeping things:-

Record, Collect, Keep

Use words that suggest interaction:-

Tell, Speak, Talk, Chat, Listen, Look, Watch, Respond, Play, Dance, Move, Lay, Help, Travel, Visit

It is best to invite a soulful child to an activity rather then tell them e.g. ‚ÄúWould you like to create a sound story today?‚ÄĚ rather than ‚ÄúToday, we‚Äôre going to create a sound story‚ÄĚ A soulful child needs to have choice but a warm invitation is generally well received!

Given time, patience, understanding and the right encouragement we can help our soulful children embrace their calling to be the visionaries of today.