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Characteristics of HN Babies and Spirited Children

This was originally posted by studentmom in the High Need/Spirited Children forum.

The characteristics of a high-need baby, according to Dr. Sears, are:

1. Intense
2. Hyperactive
3. Draining
4. Feeds Frequently
5. Demanding
6. Awakens Frequently
7. Unsatisfied
8. Unpredictable
9. Super-Sensitive
10. Hates to Be Put Down
11. Can't Self-Soothe
12. Separation Sensitive

According to Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (author of RAISING YOUR SPIRITED CHILD), when they get older, the "Spirited Child" main characteristics are:

1. INTENSITY (loud and dramatic-focused outward, quiet and intently observant - focused inward),
2. PERSISTENCE ("lock in" to important ideas, love to debate, goal oriented),
3. SENSITIVITY (easily overstimulated by their environment, low sensory thresholds to any of the five senses),
4. PERCEPTIVENESS (easily distracted, notice everything going on all the time),
5. LOW ADAPTIBILITY (don't transition/shift from one activity to another easily),

and "bonus traits" (those that sometimes come with being spirited, but not always), being:

6. IRREGULARITY (lacks natural schedules for eating or sleeping),
7. ENERGY (physically active, busy exploring all the time),
8. FIRST REACTION (quick withdrawal when first encountering anything new), and
9. MOOD (as in moody)

Please note: Your child does not have to meet all of these characteristics at once to be considered high-need. For instance, some high-need babies *want* to be put down. Two helpful websites for additional reading are:

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