Since I used to do “time-outs” COMPLETELY wrong, I want to share with you some great advice for how to make the world’s most popular discipline tool actually work!
(Well, spanking might actually be more popular, but I’m not going to touch that one! LOL)
My rule is simply this: If your expectations have been made clear to your child, and she continues to behave in a way that’s not acceptable to you, that’s a time-out.
The important part here is that your child MUST know what your expectations are. (It’s not really fair to send her for a time-out for breaking a rule she didn’t know about…)
2. How long should time-outs last?
Time-outs should last 1 minute per age of your child. (Your 2-year-old should get a 2 minute time-out. Your five-year-old should get 5 minutes, and so on…)
Somewhere away from the rest of the family, but not their own bedroom. (You don’t want to make their bedroom a place they associate with punishment, nor do you want them happily playing with their toys.)
The laundry room, your bedroom, or a time-out chair in another room are all good options.
As an aside, I had a friend who used to give her son 30-second time-outs on her lap. I always wondered how cuddling with Mom for less than a minute was much of a consequence… but she was a friend so I never said anything!
A child has literally NO CONCEPT of how long 3 minutes is, so the very best way to make sure your child stays in his time-out is to get a cheap kitchen timer, set it to beep when his time out if over, and walk away.
If he gets up and comes out before the timer beeps, calmly return him to the time-out spot, reset the timer, and explain that he has to sit there until it beeps. Do this as many times as necessary.
Once your child has completed the time-out, let it go and get on with your day. No need to go on and on about why the behavior was wrong.
If you’ve ever gotten a speeding ticket and had to listen to your spouse give you a ten minute lecture on why speeding is bad, you know what I’m talking about here. The consequence has been delivered… it’s time to move on!
That’s it! Follow these 5 steps and I think you’ll find time-outs to be a MORE effective discipline tool and LESS stressful for you and your child.
If you’re looking for a more complete guide to dealing with common behavior problems like fighting, tantrums, not listening, whining, etc. make sure to check out Kids: The Manual in the next 12 hours.
The special discount offer I mentioned a couple of days ago is expiring at midnight tonight, so now’s the very best time to try it out for yourself, risk-free:
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