Stimulation vs. over-stimulation

We fill up our kid’s diaries with play dates and extra mural activities and forget that children also need downtime. A child shouldn’t be exposed to more experiences and activities than they can cope with. This will leave them feeling cranky, tired and overwhelmed. When a baby is over-stimulated, we swaddle them or remove them from all the stimulation, but what can be done for older children?

  • Tell your child that you can see that they are upset/overwhelmed and that you will help them to relax and wind down. 
  • Remove any noise and visual stimulation and take your child to a quiet place where they can relax. This might include turning of the television/radio, talking softly and pulling the curtains close. 
  • Find out if your child would like to spend some time on their own or if they would like you to stay with them. Some children like being held tightly or for you to read them a story or sing a song. 

School going children
  • Your child should be able to calm themselves by this age, but might still struggle to identify when they need some down time. Help them by telling them that it looks to you like they are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Some alone time where they can do whatever they want is often helpful. 
  • Don’t over schedule them with activities, extra classes and social responsibilities. Take into account that they should have time in their diaries where they do nothing. If you think that your child has too many activities, talk to them to find out which ones they would be willing to let go.

Click here to read more about how much time your child should be spending on homework.