TIME OUT!! How to carry out an effective ‘time out’!!! It is so effective you will rarely ever have to use them!!

What is a time out? Is it a punishment for your child, who has done something wrong? Is it a way to give yourself time to ‘recuperate’ after your child’s behaviour? Is it a constant struggle to get them into a time out?

Lets look at ‘time outs’ a different way!

An effective time out is giving your child an opportunity to ‘reflect’ on what has happened or what they have done. For this refection to happen you will need to help them reflect!!

A child first must understand why they are having this time out!! This is when our family rules become important!! Ask “Do you know why you are having a time out?”. Hopefully you get a response.

“You are in a time out to think about our rules, you have hurt your sister which means you are not following our ‘We care for each other’. Do you understand this?”

Usually a child will not be able to communicate or be in charge of their emotions.   That is why they are given time. I prefer calling it ‘Thinking Time’!! 

Some children need support during this time. If your child is new to ‘Thinking Time’ you might have to talk them through the process. “You are here to think about how you feel, how your sister is feeling and what we can do to make things better”. I will come back then we can talk about it. When the time out has finished make sure you have a ‘talk’, then help them resolve the problem and enter back into their play.

You can use your pictures that you have on your ‘family rules’ to help communicate this to your child.

It is for this reason that I don’t believe you can use ‘time outs’ on children under 2. There are lots of studies that support that under this age a ‘time out’ can have a negative effect on a child’s emotional development. Theorist have shown that the only effective way to change negative behaviour is by a ‘significant adult’ to offer reinforcement of positive behaviour. The funny thing is that children can’t easily differentiate between negative attention and positive attention.

A time out will not change your child’s behaviour! It is the end result. The only way to change the behaviour is to understand why it happened in the first place!! With out this understanding you will just be constantly putting out fires!!

Remember children need lots of positive support when they behave well but they need even more when they haven’t!!!!

Like if you want more information about behaviour strategies. Or ask me direct questions about certain types of behaviour, maybe I can help you find the trigger.

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