“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!

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