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’t like the feeling that they ‘disappear’ (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.
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.
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:-
Time to Explore
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 ‘in the moment’ 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.
Soulful children like to explore the wider world. However they don’t like to call it ‘learning’. 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’t 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 ‘right kind of stimulation’ for your child in that moment and be ‘deep feeling’.
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’t see learning as separate to life – 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 ‘be’.
We can’t 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 – talking 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.
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’ tastes and opinions. We need to understand that for a soulful child it is not about ‘getting their way’. They are actually feeling a need to respond to a deep sense of ‘knowing’ inside themselves.
A soulful child may resist perfection not because they ‘give up’ 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 ‘distorted’ look rather than the ‘perfect’ ratio look. They could correct the proportions but they choose the image that looks ‘right’ 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.
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’
Time to Create – Express 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:-
Create feeling stories based on a personal experience – 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 ‘tidy up time’ ‘can I have a snack please’, ‘please don’t talk right now’. (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.
Find, Collect and Keep music that you like
Listen to and Respond to different music – 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 – 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
Close your eyes and listen to the silence.
Enjoy listening to the stillness while working on a project together.
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 – 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 – 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 ‘inner eyes’.
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 – 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.
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.
Time for Personal Passions – A Chance to Shine!
Soulful children have a strong sense of who they are and what they need. If something ‘lights up their passion’ they will pursue it to the ends of the earth! I suggest we try our best to facilitate our child’s 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’t really have ‘failure’ 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’s 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 ‘good enough ‘isn’t really OK! Soulful children need to feel that they make a very special contribution to the world and only then are they really happy!
Time to Relate
From the moment your soulful child wakes in the morning they are looking to connect with you. Their favourite toy doesn’t cut it and if they can’t connect with you they will choose a virtual connection and watch television. Try doing a morning story in bed – 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.
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 – 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.
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 – order 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
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.
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’s not just what we call ‘negative association’. 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. “Would you like to create a sound story today?” rather than “Today, we’re going to create a sound story” 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.