|© 2006, Just 'Cause Web Works
The time out can bean effective form of discipline for children as early as the first year but rarely lasts in effectiveness beyond age 5-6. For the toddler, sit her down immediately, exactly where she is, after a defiance of the word "no". Announce "time out". The first few times will not go smoothly but never give up on your child. She is just exploring the limits of what a time out means. Once the child sits for the required time without fighting it, step two is explaining exactly why the time out is given the next time bad behavior happens. "Time out. (sit her down) Do not hit your brother."
There is much discussion where the time out should take place. I believe it should be where the infraction took place. Never give the child time to lose focus on why she is being put in time out. Sit her down immediately on the floor and clear away anything she can reach. Move away at least ten feet and pretend to watch the clock while letting her know you can see her. No talking. As age increases, the place can be a nearby chair and the distance from you to the time out area can increase. The child is in time out not you. This has to be done by feel, each child is different. If you are truly angry and the child is sitting quietly step out of view and take a deep breath. The flip side is if you can keep a stern disapproving face let the child see it. Young children are very in tune to facial expressions, especially the extremes, happy and disapproving.
The amount of time spent in time out is usually given as equal to the age. This is a very general rule. Use no more time than it takes to impress your disapproval. Save big time outs for big no-no's. A minute is a long time for a toddler. Five is forever to a six year old. The time out should last no longer than your child's attention span. This will only lead to another time out for breaking the rules of the first time out. Those rules are simply to sit without moving and say nothing. This is not as hard as it sounds for the child. They will learn quickly. After all, they want to get back to finding out what else they can't do.
"The thing to do is to supply light, and not heat." - Woodrow Wilson
Site copyright© 2002-2023, Surf-in-the-Spirit. All rights reserved.