Sleepless In Missouri: The Highly Sensitive Child And Sleep

June 30th, 2011

Highly sensitive childrensleep photo have special needs. Obviously I should know that since I am a highly sensitive person myself. The problem arises when my hsc daughter’s needs are at odds with my own — like they have been the last few nights.

HSCs/HSPs have transitional issues

I don’t notice it as much in myself, mostly because I’ve found ways to cope, but since my daughter was a baby she has had trouble making big transitions. The most notable difficulties have been with sleep. It’s not hard to get her to fall asleep. It’s hard to keep her asleep.

When she was a newborn, she would sleep so long as she was held. Laying her in her bassinet, unless she was in a state of deep sleep, was nearly impossible. We coped as a family and eventually she got used to sleeping alone.

Transitioning from the bassinet to a crib wasn’t as difficult, but we still had a lot of nights where we were up every two hours trying to settle her back into bed. Thankfully, my mother figured out it was Tiny Tot’s sensitivity to being hot or cold that was causing the regular night wakings. Once that was addressed, she went back to sleeping through the night.

Ah! How I miss those nights…

Recently, we decided it was time to convert the crib to a toddler bed.

Oh boy! I wish I had known then what we were in for. I guess, given my little girl’s history of night wakings and nightmares, I really should have been better prepared. I wasn’t.

So, now we are back to the old routine of getting up several times per night to help her settle back into sleep. Thankfully we no longer have to sleep in a rocking chair with her. Instead we have a nice comfy body pillow on the floor next to her bed. Not quite as comfortable as a real bed, but better than the carpet-covered concrete floor.

Why put up with the stress?

In a word: compassion. Although it makes me a tired, grumpy momma later in the day, I know I’m meeting my child’s needs. That is what matters most to me. I understand what it’s like to deal with transitions and it’s my responsibility to help Tiny Tot learn how to cope.

Of course, meeting her needs would mean very little if I didn’t find a way to meet my own. I need to sleep sometime. I manage to sleep a little better on the pillow than I did in the chair, but, if it weren’t for my wonderful mother who willingly takes care of my daughter so I can get a nap, that wouldn’t be enough.

It helps to remind myself that this period of transition won’t last forever. I’m hoping it doesn’t last as long as the last one, but even if it does I’ll manage because I have the support of others who understand both my highly sensitive child and me.

2 Quick And Easy Meditation Techniques For Busy Lives

March 16th, 2011


I am one of those strange creatures called Mother who enjoys rocking her toddler to sleep — most of the time. There are times, like Sunday night (thanks daylight savings!), when it’s a real challenge. Those are the nights my little girl has a hard time relaxing. Those are also the nights I find myself struggling to stay calm.

Staying calm is essential in helping my toddler fall asleep because she’s an hsc. She picks up on my moods quickly, so if I start feeling antsy, thinking about the 101 other things that simply must be done before I go to bed, she gets even more restless. It’s taken me the better part of two years to figure out I can’t convince her to relax while my mind is busy chewing on my latest to-do list.
Thankfully, I’ve learned two meditation techniques that help me stay calm even when she’s determined to see how far my patience will go. (And they work in other stressful situations, too!)

Count on it — this is the easiest calming method I’ve found. Count to 120, then count backwards to 1. Repeat as needed. This is a great technique to use not just for calming little ones, but for keeping cool while waiting in long lines and in traffic jams.

Get focused — this one is a bit more difficult to maintain, but I think it has the best end result. Alternately concentrate on your breathing and bodily sensations. For example, while I’m rocking my daughter, I focus on the feel of her weight in my arms, the warmth of her body, the change in her breathing as she falls asleep. When she squirms or talks I focus on breathing deeply and letting my exhalations take away any stressful feelings building up in my thoughts. This works well for doctor visits and on the job, especially for office workers.

Meditation doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out process of sitting cross-legged in absolute silence. It can happen anywhere at anytime.

What other techniques have you found useful?