This form of discipline targets the age group of two to seven.
Time is out said to not so much target the discipline aspect of parenting, but more so making efforts toward teaching our children self control. Allowing the child to be in control of their fate and in charge of how long their time out lasts, can often steer the time out process in a positive direction.
When disciplining children using the “time out” method, parents must take into consideration these three major groupings: their age, the action they participated in and how their behavior has been throughout the day. Using the three-step process is found to be one of the most effective forms of discipline between the ages of two to seven. Here are the top three steps: 1.) Point out the offensive behavior and/or broken rules. 2.) Lead the child to a private place for time out. 3.) Assist them in setting the timer and follow up by them taking responsibility. The other successful way to use the three-step process is two warnings, then time out. Between the above mentioned ages, children are more likely to understand the consequences of their actions when given adequate time to process their emotions and time to collect themselves.
The said to be “most important step” in the time out process is following up with the child. After the adequate amount of time in alone has been served, ask the child what he/she did wrong. It is best to sit down (to their level- eye to eye) and calmly allow them the opportunity to take responsibility for what he/she did wrong. If when the time is up, the child is still unsure as to what they did, set the timer again for the exact amount of time as before and repeat the process. Inform your child that you will be back to try again when they are ready.
How much time do they stay in time out? Using your own timing scale when practicing time out is acceptable, but experts suggest using the child’s age as their amount of minutes in isolation. (For example: if a 5 year old talks back to you, put them in time out for 5 minutes). The best places for time out are away from toys, distracting items (TV, music, toys, animals, etc.). A best practice is to have the child sit cross-legged on the floor (or in a chair) with their backside firmly pressed against it. The time starts when the child is done crying, screaming, explaining or flailing. After the time is started, don’t hesitate to start it over if the child is not following the instructions and/or rules you’ve established. If the child continues to scream and cry, as difficult as it may be, ignore them! They thrive off of your attention and the more you give, the worse it gets. Inform the child that the time starts when they are quiet and ready to behave. It may take minutes or even hours, but stick with it- it pays off.
When using the term, “when in doubt time them out” suggests that it is better to overdo time out than to not do it enough. Either way, parents must take disciplinary action seriously and be as consistent as possible. See my other related articles for different methods of discipline and age groups.