Home > The Secrets of Successful Timeouts
Posted by admin on Monday, February 13th, 2012
In a parent’s bag of tricks, the timeout is one of the more misused tools. I’ve done some reading and a lot of trial and error to find out what really works.
Give a Warning
Kids need fair warning. They’re still learning right from wrong. Get down on their level and calmly explain to them that you don’t like what they are doing and if they do it again, they are going to timeout.
If … ok, when they do it again, the timeout should be enforced. I, myself, have a really bad habit of giving extra warnings, especially when time is tight, but this should be avoided at all costs.
Put the Child in Timeout
Take your child to a designated spot to begin the punishment. Depending on your child’s age and his or her level of resistance, you can either walk or carry your kid to the location.
Then walk away. Your child may get up (mine always does). Simply take him or her back to the spot and leave the area without saying a word. Do this as many times as needed until your child remains in the timeout. This can get pretty tiring and even comical, but it’s necessary.
Set a Timer
Once the timeout has officially begun, meaning your child is not getting up, set a timer. You should have a certain length of time picked out beforehand. I’ve heard a minute per year of age, but just use your best judgement. It doesn’t have to be long to be effective. The important thing is that you stick to the selected time.
Do Not Respond Verbally
Talking to your child during a timeout defeats the purpose. Even if your kid gets up or is screaming your name, do not say anything. Simply return him or her to the timeout spot. The obvious exceptions to this rule are if your child is in physical danger or has to use the potty.
Explain and Move On
Once the timer dings, walk over to your child, remind him or her of the reason for the timeout, share a hug, and move on with the day.
That is, until the next incident occurs and you have to start all over with the warning. That might not be very long, but if you are consistent and keep enforcing timeouts properly, you will see results. I almost guarantee it.
Content by Carter P.