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17 Signs Your Child is Tired — Stop Teasing! Overtiredness is Harmful

Lack of sleep is one of the biggest hardships in the first year after giving birth. If you want your baby to fall asleep easily and have a good night’s sleep, one of the keys is to grasp the timing of sleep and avoid excessive fatigue.
Because once a child is overtired or sleepy, the levels of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in the body will increase. When these hormone levels are high, children have a hard time relaxing and falling asleep peacefully. In addition, sleeping is a skill that requires continuous practice and learning for babies. Being overtired is also not conducive to children slowly learning to fall asleep on their own.

If you want to avoid excessive fatigue, you must learn to catch all kinds of fatigue signals sent by children in time. These signals are babies telling parents “I am tired, I am sleepy.” Once these signals appear, you should put him to sleep as needed in a timely manner and stop teasing him.

What are the signs of fatigue in children? There are slight differences depending on the age of the month.

By month age
fatigue signal

The fatigue signals of babies aged 0-3 months are as follows:

  • scratch the ears
  • Make a fist
  • Rubbing eyes and scratching face
  • Continuous hiccups
  • yawning continuously
  • dull eyes
  • Frowning, redness in the eyebrow area, or looking worried
  • Eat hands
  • Stiff movements of arms and legs
  • Beat up

The fatigue signals of babies over 3 months old are as follows:

  • Sluggish movements and prone to falling
  • clingy
  • Want to be cared for and noticed more
  • Not interested in toys
  • Not interested in food or unwilling to eat it
  • Irritability or crying (when the baby is already crying and irritable, he is actually overtired)

It should be reminded that every time you are tired or sleepy, your baby may only show some fatigue signals but not all. Plus, babies can go from slightly sleepy to overtired very quickly. Therefore, if it is difficult to coax your baby to sleep when a certain fatigue signal appears, you should be wary of starting to coax him to sleep when this fatigue signal appears. If it is already too late, you can try to coax him to sleep a little earlier next time.

Live show
17 fatigue signals

I once shared a popular science video from Raising Children about 17 signs of baby fatigue. The text version is summarized below.

  • Performance 1: Being in a daze and staring into the distance
  • Performance 2: Stiff movements
  • Performance 3: Fighting
  • Performance 4: Hitting and grumbling to lose temper
  • Performance 5: Beating and rubbing eyes
  • Performance 6: Yawning and burping
  • Manifestation 7: Yawning
  • Performance 8: Rubbing eyes
  • Performance 9: Rubbing eyes and frowning
  • Performance 10: Eating fingers, dazed, staring into the distance
  • Manifestation 11: Frowning and irritability
  • Performance 12: Stiff movements and frowning
  • Performance 13: Rubbing eyes, stiff movements, clenching fists, grumbling and losing temper
  • Performance 14: Irritability and crying
  • Performance 15: No response to teasing
  • Performance 16: No response to teasing and loss of interest
  • Performance 17: Finger eating

(Video source: Raising Children; Copyright statement: Sourced from the Raising Children website, Australia’s trusted parenting website. For more parenting information, visit

If the baby is overtired, it will be difficult to calm down. At this time, special emphasis should be placed on stopping playing in time and trying to actively fall asleep, such as reducing various stimulations, closing the curtains, and keeping the surrounding environment quiet. You can also try to help your baby calm down by breastfeeding, rocking, and patting.

However, an overtired baby can easily enter a bad cycle: after eating a little milk, he immediately falls asleep, and then wakes up again soon and wants to continue feeding, starting a new round of bad cycle.

Such a state will make both the baby and the mother extremely tired. In order to avoid entering such a bad cycle, it is necessary to pay attention to the baby’s sleep signals and ensure that the baby is put to sleep before he is overtired. That is, when the baby is just a little sleepy but not too sleepy, he can be soothed to sleep in time.

2 common misunderstandings about baby sleep

Myth 1

Sleep less or not at all during the day and sleep better at night

Not sleeping or sleeping less during the day will not make your baby sleep better at night. Instead, schedule naps as needed during the day to avoid excessive fatigue so you can sleep well at night.

Myth 2

If the baby’s eyes are wide open, it means he is not sleepy yet.

Determining whether a child wants to sleep does not depend on how wide his or her eyes are. If a child is full of sleep, his eyes will sparkle and widen when he is having fun. However, when he is particularly sleepy, his eyes will also be widened due to abnormal excitement.

Babies don’t just slowly close their eyes and fall asleep as they imagine when they are tired. Before they have the ability to fall asleep on their own, they often need comfort and help from their parents to fall asleep. If they are not comforted to sleep in time, they will become extremely excited and seem to want to play. In fact, this is probably due to excessive fatigue.