Being tired is no walk in the park…
When kids are tired, they are cranky, and much more likely to misbehave.
Being tired and sleepy can be tough on a body physically, negatively impacting balance and dexterity. There are also negative emotional consequences as well, like increasing the risk of depression, poor judgment, and impatience.
Any one of these effects of being overly tired is no walk in the park. Combining two or more can make for a perfect storm of potential chaos in the household.
But, inevitably, it happens. When it does, a typical first course of action includes giving the kid(s) a timeout.
How does a timeout help?
Recently, there has been a ton of research done on decision fatigue. Studies have shown that simply making decisions throughout the day, “tires” the brain and makes “downstream decisions” poorer. If a person starts the day tired, the effects are even worse because the upstream decisions are already subpar, so that subsequent decisions become even worse.
This is especially true for children because they already struggle with decision-making. For one, they don’t have all the input (facts) needed for many of their decisions. The result is that even simple choices are confusing. Additionally, kids have little decision-making history. Nearly everything is a “new decision” for them. Furthermore, they can’t do what adults do—fall back on rote responses to everyday decisions that are made routinely, over and over.
Consequently, kids stay more stressed than we might imagine. Combine this with being tired or sleepy, and not only do they struggle with basic decisions like what they want to eat or play with, but they also wrestle with behavioral choices too. Often, they lose this fight, and that’s when they start to act up and act out due to those poor “decisions.”
A timeout essentially does what the name says—it gives a time “off” from having to make any decisions at all, especially about appropriate or inappropriate behavior and reactions. Taking this pressure off is like a vacation for the mind and consequently, the body.
Are timeouts just for kids?
If the idea of a timeout sounds appealing, it’s probably because even adults can benefit from a timeout now and then.
While we make decisions all the time… well, we make decisions all the time. Subscribing to the concept of decision fatigue, this can be taxing on our body, mind, and soul.
Furthermore, unlike the decisions a kid faces, often our decisions can have impactful results—both good and bad. Thus, if our decision-making starts to suffer, our life – and the life of those around us – stands to suffer as well.
That’s why the idea of a timeout may not be such a bad idea – and indeed, be a very good idea – for adults too!
Here’s why you need a timeout—ASAP…
To make wiser decisions, you need a “time off” from making decisions.
Think about it… how would it feel to give your mind a break from decision-making? From having to decide… anything? You probably believe that you are too busy – that you have too much to do – to stop making any decisions at all. But have you ever had a tough choice to make, and you wore yourself out agonizing over it from top to bottom and back again, to no avail?
Then, you take a break and BAM… the answer comes to you? That’s because you gave your brain time to rest and it bounced back in better shape than before! And a brain in better shape is a brain that “behaves” better too.
Using this same example, it should be clear your timeout doesn’t need to be anything major. While you certainly can, you don’t need to take a full vacation and completely check out. Like a timeout for a child isn’t a huge affair, an adult timeout – your timeout – doesn’t have to be huge either. The key is just taking a little time away. You gain perspective. You refresh and refuel. And you come back ready to face the world again with a new attitude and a new energy that makes you feel as if you can conquer anything.