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Crying: Tired or Overstimulated

Topic Overview

Small children sometimes cry to release tension when they are overtired or overstimulated. This happens when they have been held by a lot of people in a short amount of time or exposed to lots of noise, bright lights, loud voices, or music.

You can protect your child from becoming overtired by keeping a regular routine for meals, naps, and play times.

If your child is crying because he or she is overtired or overstimulated, try the following:

  • Reduce the noise in the room.
  • Reduce the amount of movement and visual stimulation in the room. Turn down the lights and ask others not to bother your child.
  • Turn on a continuous, monotonous sound, such as a vacuum cleaner or a recording of ocean waves. Sometimes these sounds soothe and relax a child.
  • Place your child in a safe place, close the door, and set a kitchen timer for 15 to 20 minutes. If your child has not settled down after 15 to 20 minutes, check to see whether there is another reason for his or her crying.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 18, 2013

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