Yes, you can over stimulate your child

The teacher mom in me loves to keep Hamish busy and learning.

I love spending time with him, playing with playdough or painting. Building new models and playing with educational toys.

Often on my blog and Instagram this is what my readers see but the truth is I am very well aware of the fact that he can be over stimulated and because of this we also have a lot of our day that is not structured, full of free play or quiet rest times.

What is over stimulation?

Over stimulation is defined as when a child is swamped with too many experiences, sensations, activities and too much noise, leaving them unable to process it all.

This often results in a child who is cranky, unsettled, overly sensitive, crying or throwing a tantrum.

Signs of over stimulation

There are some tell tale signs to spot if your child is over stimulated.


  • Cranky or tired
  • Cries more
  • Turns their head away from you and seems upset
  • Moves in a jerking manner
  • Clenches their fists

Toddler/ preschooler

  • Tired, cranky or upset
  • Easily moved to tears ( emotional)
  • Unable to vocalize their distress
  • Tantrum
  • Tells you that they do not want to continue an activity
  • Refuses to co- operate

How to balance activities and quiet time

Your child’s brain develops faster and more rapidly in the first 5 years of their life than at any other time of growth.

And your child’s experiences:- the things they hear, see, touch, taste, smell and do, stimlate those growing brain cells making millions of connections.

This means that your child will need a stimulating environment with lots of different activities that offer a variety of ways to play and learn, as well as lots of opportunities to practice what they have learnt and ways to interpret the world around them through play.

But, this also does not mean as parents we need to keep our children busy with a new activity, toy, game or extra curricular event every minute of the day ….Children need time to process the information their brain is receiving.

They need quiet time to recharge and rest.It is also in these quiet times that your child will learn to entertain themselves, explore their environment in their own way and at their own pace and naturally start to self stimulate:- understanding when they need to rest in order to feel better.

How to help your child if they are over stimulated


  • If you see your baby is over stimulated, take them into a quiet space.
  • You can also try to wrap your baby or carry them in a sling, as this redcues physical stimulation.

Toddler / preschoolers

  • Often toddler overstimulation results in tantrums or an emotional outburst,staying calm will help your child settle down faster.
  • Reduce the noise and activity around you child
  • Help your child to verbally express how they are feeling
  • Some times a child will prefer to do a quiet activity, like reading alone but you could also lie down with a younger child and sing songs or tell them a story.
  • If your child refuses to do an activity or does not want to continue, stop.

Finding the right amount of stimulation

Each child is different so there is no right amount of stimulation. Different children cope with different amounts of excitement, noise, and activities. Some children cope in stimulating environments better than others.

In all situations the best remedy is to allow your child to be the guide and if they are over stimulated, remove them from an over stimulated enviromoment into a calmer, quieter one.

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