The time out time is a child discipline technique which is used when the child is misbehaving. The theory behind the time out time is to help the child (and yourself) calm down and think about why he or she is being sent to a quiet place. However, the theory and practice do not always go hand in hand.
If you want the time out technique to achieve the desired effect, you need to follow some rules. They include:
Make sure that your child is old enough to be sent to time out. Children who are younger than 3 years are too young for this child discipline method. Toddlers have an extremely short attention span and simply cannot stay still. Sending a toddler to time out typically leads to a power struggle, while the child meanwhile forgets why he or she has been sent to time out in the first place.
Do not threaten your child with time out. The idea behind the method is not to scare your child but to help him or her understand that a particular behavior is unacceptable and that an action triggers a reaction. Your child will not be happy about being sent to time out, however, it should not make him or her feel humiliated or ashamed either.
Do not fight your child to stay quiet during time out. When upset, it is not unusual for children, especially the younger ones to shout and scream when being sent to time out. However, there is no need to fight your child to stay quiet. On the contrary, you would make him or her only more upset. Keep in mind that young children often have difficulties controlling their emotions and that unfortunately, they express them with that embarrassing shouting and screaming. However, most kids calm down relatively soon if they are removed from the action.
Choose a quiet place for time outs. If you want to achieve the desired effect with time outs, it is crucial to send your child to a place where there are no distractions.
Do not pay too much attention to time. Many parents say that they use a timer and that they increase the time out time for one minute with each year. However, it is not as much about the actual time but about your child calming down. In addition, they do not really know how much time has passed while they were taking time out.
Use the method carefully. If your child is spending most of the day taking time outs, you are highly recommended to consider whether you are using the method properly. Remember that there is a thin line between misbehavior and children’s urge to explore their surroundings and challenge their physical abilities.
Talk to your child after time out. Through time outs, you help your child to learn what is an unacceptable behavior and control hie or her emotions. However, your child does not learn why you disapprove a particular behavior and how to make it better next time. When your child calms down, talk to him or her about why you have used time out and how to deal with similar situations in the future.