Discipline Techniques: Time Out

Wouldn’t it be nice if our children never acted unacceptably? If they never misbehaved at all there would be no need for discipline.

Unfourtunately it’s not a perfect world, and kids do act up. That’s why we use discipline. Here is a discipline technique that you may or may not have tried yet. It works for kids ages three and older. It’s called time out. When used properly time out is a very effective form of discipline. Here’s how it works…

Okay, imagine this…your child has been playing nicely with a friend. They have been sharing and taking turns very well. Then, just when you least expect it your child grabs a toy from his friends hands and yells “MINE!”. So much for sharing and getting along! Your child’s friend bursts into tears yelling “Give that back!!!” Your child refuses. It is time for your intervention.

The first thing you will need to do is take the toy from your child and return it to your childs friend. Oh yes, this will probably spark a tantrum. Disregard the tantrum. Your child needs to know that it was not okay for him to grab a toy from his friend. The next thing you will need to do is remove your child from the situation. Take him to another room of your house. Please keep in mind that the above situation is merely an example. Time out can be used with any unaccetable behavior.

Time out requires a time out spot. The time out spot you choose should be a place where there are no playthings or distractions.

The kitchen table works well. Asking your child to put their nose to a door or corner works well also. Time out works best when used consistantly. The same spot should be used each time.

Once your spot is established you are ready for the time out. The first thing to do to make your child’s time out effective is to tell your child what was not acceptable. Going along with the above example you could say something such as “Child, it was not okay for you to take the toy away from your friend. You need to share and take turns. When you took the toy away from your friend it made him feel very upset. That was not a nice thing to do.” Then you ask your child to please go and take a time out.

Time outs require supervision. You need to be right there the whole time, making sure that the time out is actually being taken. If you tell your child to take a time out and then leave the room chances are that your child will not learn anything, they will be too busy playing. The object of time out is consequence. You explain what they did wrong to them, and then give them a consequence in the form of the time out.

The length of your child’s time out should be in minutes according to your childs age. If your child is four then a four minute time out is appropriate. If your child is ten then a ten minute time out is appropriate. Remember, time out is not punishment, it is discipline. The point is to teach your child, not to seclude or banish them. When timing a time out a timer works very well. When the timer beeps or buzzes you and your child will both know when their time is up.

When the time out time is up it’s time to recap. Ask your child why you asked them to take a time out. If they can answer you then the time out has been effective. The effectiveness being that your child understands that that specific action is not okay and leads them to the consequence of time out. After your child gives you the answer recap on the reasons why their action was not okay. Ask them how they would feel if someone had done it to them. If your child does not give you an explanation of why they were put into time out then you will need to explain it all to them again. After you have explained it again ask them once more why you put them into time out. If they can answer that is great, they understand. If at this point they still do not answer back then another time out may be nessecary. Always make sure to explain everything very thouroghly.

When used consistantly and properly time out can be a very effective form of discipline. Remember that kids are kids, they all misbehave sometimes. When misbehaviors occur time out can help! Happy parenting….

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