For parents and caregivers time out can be an effective discipline tool. When it comes to disciplining children, it is important for parents and caregivers to stay in control of their behavior and to stay calm and polite. It is important for children not to see their caregivers as angry. If caregivers can be seen as capable of talking in a normal voice and controlling their emotions when angry than children will learn that they can handle their emotions as well. Time out can be used to help calm children, and gives caregivers time to calm down themselves. When used effectively with young children time out can be a great tool for helping children understand inappropriate behavior and to teach them how to make amends and good choices.
There are steps to be taken for time out to be effective. When deciding to implement a time out discipline method these steps should be told to the children, and should be followed each time misbehavior occurs.
Designate a Time Out Area
The first step is to designate a spot for time out where the child cannot be entertained. Time out should not be in a bedroom or play area. A chair in a corner or a step at the bottom of a staircase are good options. This spot should be used consistently each time a child is placed in time out.
Give the child a warning
Set clear behavior rules. Once the child knows the rules and does not follow them, give the child one warning. Do not give more than that or the child will think they can get away with the behavior. If the child continues the behavior after the first warning direct them to time out. Explain to the child why he is going to time out and that they will sit in time out for a designated amount of time.
Set Time Limits
A good amount of time for time out is one minute per age. Once the child is in the time out area explain that the timer will only start when they are quiet and in the time out seat. If they come off the seat or talk during time out then they timer will need to be restarted. When used in a classroom setting it is important that the other children in the class know that they are to ignore the child in time out.
When timeout is over explain to the child why they were placed in time out. Make sure the child understands by asking them to admit what they did wrong. This teaches the child to own up to their actions. This can be done by asking the child why they were placed in time out. Once the child understands their actions ask what they could have done differently. This teaches the child to understand good choices and gives them the chance to come up with alternative behaviors. If a child did something wrong to another child direct them to apologize for their behavior.
Time out can be a helpful discipline tool for parents and caregivers with young children. Timeout can help through the toddler and preschool years when children try their caregiver’s patience and test their limits. It is important to teach young children that they are capable of making good choices and are responsible for their behavior. When used correctly time out can be a good and effective tool to help with this.