Timeout only works when used correctly
Today I would like to look at the timeout technique and how to use it correctly. Just as with any other advice, please get your partner, grandparents on board first – you don’t want to confuse your little cherubs with inconsistent rules.
At school, we use time out as a very last resort but at home, timeout can help you achieve results fast.
10 Timeout Rules:
1) Set a daily schedule and rules of the household – write it with your children if they are big enough to understand. Display your rules on your wall, I like the kitchen wall – that’s the room where I spend most of my time in.
2) Timeout works when children are old enough to grasp that they are doing something wrong. I would not even attempt time out before your child is at least 2 years old.
3) You can call timeout anything you want. With my children, we had a “naughty step” but you can name your “timeout” “thinking time” if you wish or anything else for that matter.
4) Chose your “timeout” spot, it can be a chair, it can be a rug or a bean bag that will ONLY be used for timeout.
5) Time in timeout depends on the age of your child, normally you would do 1 minute per child’s age, so a two year old should not be in a timeout for more than 2 minutes. A 6 year old would stay in a timeout for 6 minutes and so on.
6) When your child is misbehaving, let them correct their behaviour first, so ALWAYS give them a warning first. Don’t forget, they are learning and we are here to teach them first. Most of the children will correct their behaviour when you tell them that there is a better way.
7) If your child refuses to stop their behaviour even though you gave them a warning, use timeout.
Tell them: “I asked you to stop hitting your brother, you would not stop so now you have to go to timeout.” or what ever they were doing wrong. 🙂
8) Get down to your child’s level, please do not tower over them, they are small and it is very scary for them to have a looming adult over their little heads, especially if you are displeased with them. Say with a calm voice : “I placed you in a timeout because I asked you to stop hitting your brother and you would not. You will stay in timeout for 3 minutes, please think about what you did and how you can behave better next time.”
9) You can use a sand timer or your I-Pad or even the clock on the oven to time the time, pease don’t forget that your child is in “timeout”!!! It is also nice for your child to see how the time is flowing.
10) When time is up, go to your child, get down to his/her level and say: “you were in a timeout because you hit your brother, I asked you to stop but you would not. Are you sorry? Please apologise to me and your brother. When your child apologises, he/she can leave his timeout and join in with the rest of the family.
I used Timeout (naughty step) with both my children. I would always try and re-direct their behaviour first, at our school, timeout is always the last option. However, children often behave better for us than for you. So timeout can really guide your child towards better behaviour.
Please do not bring up past mistakes when reprimanding your child. Once they did “timeout” they are done and their sleeve is wiped clean. Sentences like “Of course you hit your brother, you always do that” only lower your child’s self-esteem. Your child is not naughty, they only made bad choices that can be easily corrected. They need to feel loved and cherished but that does not mean you have to give in to every whim and wish they have.