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Excessive Stimulation in Children

The effects of excessive stimulation in a child can appear when he is a baby and can continue throughout childhood. An over-stimulated child can struggle with motor skills, language skills and social skills, which may contribute to learning or behavioral issues down the road.

Starting Out

A child is born with an immature nervous system, making it difficult for her to process a large amount of stimulus at one time. A newborn under 3 months old can easily become over-stimulated by everyday occurrences, such as bright lights or loud noises. Although some babies can tolerate new stimulus well, others might easily become over-stimulated, making it difficult for parents to calm them down, notes Rowena Bennett, RN, on the Baby Care Advice website 1.

Calm Down Time

A child who is excessively stimulated or overtired may have difficulty sleeping or falling asleep. Try to encourage a low-stimulating bedtime routine that is conducive for sleep for your child. A dark, cool room with minimal noise and activity level is optimal for falling asleep. Follow the same routine each night, such as giving your child a bath followed by a bedtime story in a dark, quiet room to help him relax and promote sleeping.

Effects on Skills

While you may be eager to encourage your child to reach basic developmental milestones at an early age, excessively stimulating or forcing the skill on her can hinder her progress. Conversely, under-stimulating can also affect your child’s ability to learn new skills such as rolling over, walking, talking or writing. The key to providing the right amount of stimulus is to know what new skills your child is working on and then direct play to stimulate these developing skills, advises the Center for Effective Parenting.

ADHD and Over-Stimulation

A child with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can easily become distracted and inattentive in an over-stimulating environment such as a large or noisy classroom. A child with ADHD has an inability to keep his emotions in check and lacks the ability to shift from one mental activity to another. This can cause him to become over-stimulated and act out in ways, such as hitting, making large messes or exhibiting other distracting, silly or disruptive behavior. Reducing the amount of surrounding stimulus for a child with ADHD may help decrease hyperactivity and impulsive and inattentive behavior.