Is Your Kid Zoning Out? When to Worry

My Kid Zones Out!

Have you noticed that your child zone’s out at different points throughout the day? It’s certainly a cause for alarm, but many things can cause this strange behavior. How many times have you driven to work and don’t remember the roads or anything else?

It’s as if you woke up and were at your destination. Sometimes the brain goes on autopilot, and you have these periods where you are in intense concentration. How do you know when it’s a cause for concern?

What Causes These Episodes?

It’s common to see these periods of zoning out when someone is stressed or bored. Some medical experts call it brain fog, and it can be a coping skill. It’s often a dissociative technique that keeps your mind healthy when it’s stressed out.

Many instances of zoning out occur because your child is switching over to autopilot. For example, if you ask your son or daughter to run the vacuum in the living room. The brain knows that it doesn’t take much thought to complete this task.

So, even though the chore requires attention, it allows the mind to go into default mode as not much brain power is needed.

Could Sleep Deprivation Be the Issue?

If your child isn’t getting sufficient sleep at night, they can be in a fog and feel off the next day. It’s a medical fact that being sleep deprived can play a significant role in your mental functioning. The problem is more severe if you are driving a car or operating heavy equipment. Thankfully, it’s an easy problem to correct.

Information Overload May Be to Blame

How many times do you give your kid a list of things to do, and they are overwhelmed? Children need to have tasks delegated one at a time. When you give them an extensive task list, they can become overloaded. They may be dazed and confused because they are unsure where to start.

Their little minds were trying to absorb everything you gave them and couldn’t, so it zoned out. They are often still listening to you, but they have a faraway look in their eyes. You wouldn’t give a three-year-old a whole pork chop to eat. You cut it up into small, digestible pieces so that they won’t choke. This is how you must handle giving information to children.

When to Be Concerned?

For the most part, zoning out isn’t a significant issue. Sadly, there are times when it can be something serious. Children are prone to epilepsy, a medical condition where the brain short circuits and has a seizure. Grand Mal seizures cause the child to lose all function and thrash about. However, a petit mal seizure doesn’t have the same effect.

During a petit mal seizure, the child is entirely still, and they’re gazing off into the distance. They don’t jerk, lose control of their bladder, or convulse on the floor. In many instances’ parents don’t realize what’s going on until they see they’re not blinking.

Zoning out isn’t a big concern unless it’s continually happening. If you see your child regularly in a fog or a twilight state, you need to see a pediatrician.

Using Active Listening Techniques With Your Child

Children, by nature, are not the best listeners. If you find that your kid is continually zoning out when you’re talking, then you might want to teach them active listening skills. These skills include things like:

  • Asking them to use non-verbal cues to engage with you. Things like nodding their head to acknowledge your conversation.
  • Require your child to repeat back to you what you said to them. Restating things helps to ensure they’re listening and engaging.
  • If the child looks confused or seems uncertain about the tasks given, ask clarifying questions to help clear things up.

Zoning out is a common problem that many people deal with in children. Thankfully, in most cases, it’s a benign situation that is not alarming. However, if it continues to happen, then you need a medical evaluation.

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