Every kid can be pushed past their level of tolerance. When parents know the signs, they can learn how to avoid it.
When it comes to children’s activities, there can definitely be too much of a good thing. That’s why kids can burst into tears at the amusement park, the movies, or even their own birthday parties. The activity is all too much for them – specifically, too much stimulation. Parents may make allowances for kids being tired, but kids can easily be overwhelmed and overstimulated long before they are physically tired.
“Everyone responds to different sensory information in different ways,” says Amy Baez, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of Playapy. “Some children (and even adults) have a low threshold for certain information, so they respond negatively to this information much quicker than a typical child would.”
The threshold of overstimulation can vary due to a number of factors, including if a child is on the autism spectrum, but even children with typical high stimuli thresholds can be overstimulated if the stimulation is sustained for long periods of time. Any parent who has seen a happy kid suddenly flip into a snot-spewing sob factory after a day at the “happiest place on earth” has experienced this.
The particular symptoms may vary, but the aforementioned crying, along with crankiness, tantrums, or over meltdowns, is common in neurotypical kids. They may demonstrate aggression, hyperactivity, or wild excitement. Or they could go the complete opposite and zone out, withdraw, or show typical symptoms of sleepiness like rubbing their eyes or face. Overstimulated kids don’t know how to deal with what they are feeling, or articulate their distress, and…
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