When Moses was three and a half years old, I started compiling this list of things that I wish I’d known earlier with respect to raising a sensitive child. Some of these things are things that weren’t necessarily obvious to me in the beginning, and some of them, I learned the hard way through experience. Some of the things on this list are things that I strive to do, but am not able to always do. Hopefully some of the ideas may help you with your sensitive child.
Some of these things are relevant to all children, but not all of these things may relevant to your child. These are specifically a list of things that I feel were helpful for my child and in our family. Listen to your gut as to which ones may be appropriate in your family. I started this list a year before my son was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder. I believe that many of the points are still relevant for other parents of sensitive children. (I’ve listed the tips for living with Job’s Syndrome in a separate list here).
I don’t pretend to know all of the answers, and I’m not a ”perfect” parent (no one is). We all do the best that we can do every moment. And that’s all we can do.
This is a living list, and I will add more with time. If you have other ideas to add (which I’m sure you do), let me know.
- Trust your intuition as a parent. You know best. Read more here.
- Remember that your child chose you as her/his parent.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Listen and talk to your child with respect.
- If your child is of school age, consider alternative schools (e.g., Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, wholistic schools, arts schools), homeschooling, or unschooling. Or maybe your neighbourhood school is a great fit for your sensitive child. This is, of course, a very personal decision, but it’s good to consider your options. We are very interested in a wholistic school that is inspired by Waldorf and Montessori philosophies (but it’s not yet established), so our son will be going to the neighbourhood school for Kindergarten.
- Alexis from Taking the Lid off the Sun provides many practical parenting tips for raising sensitive children.
- Lisa from Visionary Mom has many inspiring articles about helping children and parents to live their dreams.
- Enjoy your child. Celebrate the joys of raising a sensitive child, and being a sensitive parent. Our story here.
- Celebrate your child’s gifts. Our story here.
- Get a family pet (one that your child isn’t allergic to). Unfortunately, our son was allergic to our cats and our dog. Our dog story here, here and here. A fish is a great non-allergenic pet. We love our fish, Jack!
- Do things that you like to do as a family — especially outdoor activities.
- Try yoga, dance, martial arts, or gymnastics. All of these activities ground children in their bodies. But don’t do it all. Have lots of unscheduled time too.
- Arts and crafts
- Dance and sing – make up songs together. Our story here.
- Try some Brain Gym exercises – simple movements that improve learning through the use of both brain hemispheres. More Brain Gym exercises here.
- Laugh, giggle, tickle and tell jokes
- Be a silly Billy (as we like to say in our family)
- Try attachment parenting. Our story here.
- Try breastfeeding as long as you can (but if your child is sensitive to foods, you will need to restrict your diet as well).
- If your baby is extremely colicky, I would eliminate milk from his/her diet immediately (and from your diet too if you’re breastfeeding). Remember, it can take up to a month to see any changes because it takes a while for the milk protein to leave his/her and your system after you’ve eliminated it from your diet. More about this here.
- Find out what your baby’s cry means. More about this here.
Care of the emotional body
- Teach your child from an early age to talk about his/her feelings. More here.
- We allow emotions to be what they are. Happy, sad, joyful, anger.
- We let each other know that we still love each other even when we are angry.
- Emotional freedom technique is a useful technique for releasing the emotional charge on issues. Our story here.
- We say ”I’m sorry”.
- Forgive each other and yourself.
- We sing songs about our feelings when our preschooler (now Kindergartener) is particularly sad or angry. It helps. Our story here.
General Body Care
- Try body brushing with a natural bristle brush (get one from a natural health store). We’re not doing this with our son since his skin is quite sensitive, but body brushing is also a technique that can help autistic children (it involves a different type of brush and different brushing technique). Read more here.
- Moisturize with coconut oil (it’s good to put edible things on your sensitive child’s skin as you know that it’s non-toxic). Or choose non-toxic body care products.
- Try baths with epsom salts, sea salt, baking soda and olive oil or coconut oil. Read more here.
- Consider castor oil abdominal massage for gentle cleansing and a variety of ailments. (We only tried it a couple of times).
- Gentle massage for your child while you are hanging out on the couch or before bed.
- Lots of cuddles, hugs and kisses.
- Drink lots of water. Consider adding a couple drops of Himalayan salt sole to water. More here.
- Try Weleda toothpaste. More info here.
- Avoid fluoride because it is a neurotoxin.
- Great tips on how to cure tooth decay naturally through good food at http://www.curetoothdecay.com/ Read Ramiel Nagel’s Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities & Repair your Teeth Naturally with Good Food.
Feeding your child – General
- Buy as much organic produce as possible. Wash all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables with apple cidar vinegar.
- If you can’t afford organic produce all of the time, at least avoid the dirty dozen (i.e., the 12 foods that have the highest amounts of pesticides).
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
- Minimize preservatives, flavourings, dyes, artificial sweeteners.
- Teach your child where food comes from (i.e., purchase foods directly from a farm, visit farmer’s markets).
- Avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG). There is MSG in just about everything (e.g., many of Campbell’s soups, flavoured potato chips). My sensitive son had MSG in his system because I was eating foods with MSG while I was breastfeeding him. I learned that most foods that I *loved* contained MSG (like Campbell’s canned cream of mushroom soup). Read more here.
- Try reducing the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. Read Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons’ book, Little Sugar Addicts (website here).
- Consider eating for your blood type. Our story here.
- Great article about how to get your picky eater to eat healthy foods.
- Tips on feeding your food allergic child here.
- Find a good multi-vitamin.
- Find out if your child is low on vitamin Bs, in particular, vitamin B12. Read more here.
- Find out if your child is low in vitamin D3. Read more here.
- Recommended supplements to boost the immune system here
- I highly recommend Dr. Robert Keller’s Original Glutathione Formula for raising glutathione levels, which is the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier. Read more about glutathione here.
- Supplements that my son is currently taking here.
Health care practitioners
- My vision of a health care system here.
- Find a good Heilkunst-trained homeopathic practitioner. (Heilkunst homeopathy has been very instrumental in our son’s healing).
- Find a good energy healer. I believe that sensitive children are especially helped by energy healing. I am an energy healer who specializes in energetic healing for sensitive children and their families. I facilitate distance sessions for families all over the world. An example of how energy healing helped our family here).
- We have also found naturopathy and chiropractic care to be helpful.
- Find medical doctor(s) that you trust.
- Listen to your own intuition before following the advice of any health care practitioner.
Minimize Medications and Vaccinations
- This one is hard to do, especially if your child is sick, but minimize medications as much as possible. Medications generally do not address the root cause of disease. They simply suppress symptoms and mask the problem, and in doing so, often create other problems as a result. Often, stronger and stronger medications are required to keep the symptoms suppressed. We haven’t been able to completely avoid the use of medicine, but we try to as much as we can. Trust your intuition on this one. Our story here and here. I strongly recommend finding a Doctor of Medical Heilkunst who can address and remove the root cause of disease. (If you can’t find one in your area, telephone consultations are just as effective and they can send you the remedies).
- Read stories of vaccine-injured children.
- Read some scientific research on vaccinations.
- If you only want to read one scientific paper, read this one: Blaylock, R.L. 2008. The danger of excessive vaccination during brain development: the case for a link to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Medical Vertias 5(2008):1727-1741.
- If your intuition says not to vaccinate your child, DON’T DO IT! If I could choose again, I would have chosen not to vaccinate (not even selectively vaccinate as we did). More on our story here. More about genetic predispositions and triggers for developing autism here.
- If you do choose to vaccinate, consider ways to make it safer. More about this here.
Minimize Environmental Toxins
- Minimize the toxins in your environment. More information here.
- Use natural cleaners (e.g., vinegar, baking soda, or Dr. Bronner’s Magic All in one Soap).
- Remove your shoes at the door.
- Open up the windows and let fresh air circulate in your home.
- Ensure there is no mold in your home. Our story here.
- Use cast iron pans or stainless steel pots and pans to cook with (rather than toxic non-stick teflon pans).
- Purchase a good air purifier.
- If you are renovating your home, find another place to temporarily stay during the renovations. Our story here.
- When painting, use no VOC or low VOC paint. Our story here.
- Do not use pesticides on your lawn or garden.
- Choose ceramic dental fillings over stainless steel or mercury amalgam fillings. Our story here.
Self-care for Mom and Dad
- Schedule at least once a month dates for mom and dad. Read about one of our dates here.
- Schedule at least once a week time for you. Follow your bliss. My story here.
- Find time to exercise. Even 10 minutes of stretching or yoga a day. Our story here.
- Find time to meditate, centre or pray daily. A daily centering practice is very important.
- Build a support group of family and friends.
- Get body work (massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, energy work) once a month. If you can’t afford to, do trades with your spouse or a friend.
- Consider contrast showers to help boost your immune system.
- Try dry skin body brushing.
Care of the Planet
I believe that the way that we care for the planet is closely related to the well being of ourselves and our children.
- Tara’s Sustainable Baby Steps website has tons of great tips for going green. Every step that we take to help our planet, also helps ourselves and our children.
- Read the Environmental Working Group’s list of 11 simple everyday things that you can do to go green.
Care of the Energetic and Spiritual Bodies
- More information can be found on the Intuitive Children page.