Time out, it used to be a pretty popular form of discipline, but we are hearing less and less about time outs. Why is this? Does time out work?
The short answer? Yes. and No. Let me explain.
What is Time Out
Time out is supposed to be a brief separation between the caregiver and the child. The point of time out is to allow the child to practice self-calming skills. Time out is when we need to quite frankly, completely ignore the child in trouble. Why is this? Because most of the time when kids misbehave it is to get attention. If a child is in time out and getting our attention still, the method of discipline does not work.
Timeouts were created based on the assumption that kids were being raised in environments where they had plenty of “time in’s”. Which are positive, loving interactions.
Why Doesn’t Time Out Work?
Too often times time out is not being used the way it was meant to. We spend time arguing with the child. Other children interact with the child in time out. The child whines, or cries, and moves, forcing the caregiver to interact with he child by reminding them to calm down, or go back to their time out space. This gives the child the attention they are seeking. Not the break or the time they need to learn how to calm down on their own.
In addition to the above children now are too often times reminded of the bad they do, instead of being encouraged and filled with positive reinforcements.
We Need to Try Time IN
In addition to using time outs, parents and child care providers need to practice Time In. What is this? It is when we praise the children in our lives for GOOD behavior.
Time out is really one of the only methods of discipline caregivers in a child care setting can use, yet we tend to use it ineffectively time and time again. Because of this, time outs rarely work.