“Time Out” has been used as a popular punishment strategy for quite some time among modern day parents.

Which is exactly why I don’t like it.

Not because its popular, but because of the “p” word, “punishment”. I think a lot of people completely misunderstand the point of time out.

In my view, time out should be used as an opportunity for the child (and the parent!) to take a few moments to calm down from a situation where one (or both) of them has become worked up.

It’s a time where both parent and child can take a few deep breaths and collect themselves.

I don’t think it should be a scenario that looks kind of like this:

“That’s it! You’re going to time out!!” you scream as you march your little one over the corner, plonk them down and tell them not to move for 5 minutes “or else” there’ll be trouble.

In my mind, the scenario looks a little more like:

“I can see you are angry about x, y z, move away for some quiet time and once you are calm we can talk about it” as you gently navigate them towards a comfortable cool down spot where they can collect themselves.

Once you are both calm, then it’s an appropriate time to;

  • discuss the situation
  • reflect on behaviours displayed
  • agree on appropriate behaviours for the future
  • discuss any consequences that are relevant to how the situation unfolded

But, that’s just my opinion (and since I don’t have a crystal ball telling me what I would actually do in a real-life scenario with my own kids), I’m keen to know…

– What do you think about “time out”?
– What are the rules for “time out” in your house?
– Is it used as a “punishment” or an opportunity to cool down?

Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

P.S. Would you like to learn about new some new behaviour strategies? For strategies on everything from toddler tantrums to teenage attitudes, click here!

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