Content Map Terms

Crying: Tired or Overstimulated

British Columbia Specific Information

A crying baby is frustrating for parents and caregivers, especially when it goes on for long periods of time or you do not know the cause. To learn about why your baby might be crying, and for tips on comforting your child, see:

If you have any reason to believe a child’s crying is related to possible harm or abuse or you think a child or youth (under 19 years of age) is being abused or neglected, call Child Protection Services at 1-800-663-9122. Child Protection Services in B.C. safeguard children from harm. They have the authority to investigate and take appropriate action to ensure that child’s safety. If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. To learn more, see the Ministry of Children and Family Development – Child Protection Services in B.C.

If you are a child or youth and want to talk to someone, call the Helpline for Children toll-free at 310-1234 (no area code needed). You can call at any time of the day or night and you do not have to give your name. Call 1-866-660-0505 for TTY services for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Helpline for Children is a toll-free service for children or youth (under 19 years of age). There is no charge to call the operator if you call from a pay phone.

Anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been, or is likely to be, abused or neglected has a legal duty under the Child, Family and Community Service Act to report the matter. Visit Ministry of Children and Family Development – Reporting Child Abuse for more information.

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 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 his or her crying.

Credits

Current as of:
February 10, 2021

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