The balancing act of stimulation for busy children.


Do you have a busy child? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Not only does the LCTS team have first hand experience parenting their own ‘busy’ children, but many of our clients also report having a busy child, for which they seek our advice and assistance. 


Busyness’ can present in different ways for different children. For some clients, their child may struggle keeping on task and focusing. For others, the child may experience difficulty transitioning between environments without meltdowns, because they are jumping between activities. When exploring the concept of busy children further, it is crucial to consider the level of stimulation for that child within their day-to-day life; as this directly impacts their ability to regulate their emotions!

As parents and caregivers, we must try to ensure that our child is engaged in activities that stimulate them mentally and physically. However, we must also be careful to not overload or overstimulate them. Sometimes this is a very fine line, and this line differs for each child. Here, it is crucial to consider your child’s natural disposition, as this will ultimately impact the level of stimulation that they require.

Over-stimulation occurs when a child has been overloaded in one day. For example, they might have been exposed to:

  • Too many outings in one day
  • Attended a new environment with new people
  • Excessive screen time
  • Multiple stimuli within the one environment (i.e. television and radio playing simultaneously).
  • Too many toys out/activities to choose from

Subsequently, under-stimulation can also occur when you child hasn’t had enough mental and physical stimulation which can also impact on their regulation and behaviours. Both under- and over- stimulation can often present as a ‘busy’ child who is struggling to transition between environments, stay on task and/or listen to instructions.  


Our advice:

When observing your ‘busy’ child, try and think about what their individual balance of stimulation in one day would look like. 

As adults, we can sometimes expect children to have the same stimulation level as us and, therefore, potentially expect too much from them in a single day. Try and observe your child’s body language and nonverbal communication as this can tell you a lot about how they are coping. 

Often we see ‘busy’ children running around, knocking into people or not listening, which can initially be seen as unacceptable behaviour, however, more times than not, this could be a sign of the child attempting to regulate and tell us that they need support to calm their little engines!


If you are in need of additional guidance, information or support for your child, please reach out to our team at Light Coordination Therapy Services, here.

March 28, 2022 — Light Coordination Therapy Services Admin