As I am continuing to understand my highly sensitive child more and more, I’m seeing how incredibly important routines are for her. I remember reading parenting books at the infancy stage talking about how some parents like a strict schedule of feeding and napping, whereas other parents just kind of go with the flow. We were definitely more on the side of strict schedule of feeding and napping. You have to do what works for you and your child, and it definitely worked for us. Having a scheduled routine for feeding and napping helped me to feel like I could schedule activities and have a little more control over what I could do. And nowadays, we still have a pretty firm routine for the days I’m at home with my daughter. The times are not as strict, but we do try to eat meals around the same time every day, and always aim for an early afternoon naptime.
What has really struck me is what happens with my highly sensitive child when there is a disruption in the routine. Kids who aren’t as sensitive are more easily adaptable to new situations and experiences, which I’ve already seen when I take my daughter to a new class. My mother came to visit from out of town with another relative my daughter didn’t know. This caused some pretty significant disruptions in her daily routine, and I’m guessing, made her feel like things were a little out of control.
Not knowing what was going to happen was terrifying for her.
Probably the scariest for her was wondering if she was going to be left alone with grandma and/or auntie, and she definitely hung on to me more than usual. And she tried her hardest to follow her routines in every other sense, to give her a sense of security and stability. At bedtime she needed to have the humidifier turned on, the nightlight turned on, and the monitor turned on so she could see their little lights.
She needed her security blankets and various stuffies to hug and keep her company in bed.
She needed me to say the same things I say to her every night, and sing the same bedtime song I always do.
My daughter is a creature of habit. She thrives in her routine. When things go the way they’re supposed to go, she is a happy, adventurous, bouncy and easily pleased little girl. She is cautious in new situations, but if there are enough things that allow her to relate to something she already knows, she can be bold when she wants to be.
Sometimes she surprises me by adapting more quickly than I expect. Just goes to show that even though I am probably the person who knows her the best, I still don’t fully know her. And that’s okay. We’re learning as we go. That’s one of the best parts of parenting, isn’t it?
And I have to say, I am a pretty big fan of routines myself. I like going to work and knowing that I have times blocked out for sessions with my clients. I like knowing how much time I have after work to get dinner ready before my husband comes home with my daughter. And I love and look forward to the days I spend at home with her, especially the morning snuggle time.
Our lives are definitely happier because of them.
- LIFE: Getting to Know My Highly Sensitive Child (juicygreenmom.ca)
- LIFE: Boundaries (juicygreenmom.ca)
- RANT: Introversion and Sensitivity Are Not Disorders (juicygreenmom.ca)