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Crying: Helping a Tired or Overstimulated Child

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 they are 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 white noise.

    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.

  • Try letting your child settle down on their own.

    Place your child in a safe place, close the door, and set a kitchen timer for 10 to 15 minutes. If your child has not settled down after 10 to 15 minutes, check to see whether there is another reason for their crying.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: August 3, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics