Punishments and the Concept of Timeout

Time out is one of the most effective means of disciplining a child.  Dr. Sears even recommends that a timeout be introduced to a child as early as 18 months. For the  time out, to be actually effective, the parent must invest in time “in” with the child- playing, having fun, etc…

Basically, timeout is meant to be a “break” from the child’s activities.   Thirty minutes of sheer boredom can be such agony to a hyperactive child.  It is also meant to be used as a reinforcer  to discourage a child from doing improper behaviour.

When you send your child to “timeout”, keep your cool.  Don’t shout, threaten or be aggressive.

Assign an appropriate place in your home as the Timeout area.  It should be quiet and clutter free.  The walls should be plain and boring.  You should use this place all the time whenever you implement a timeout.

Prior to implementing a timeout, discuss with your child what a timeout is and explain that whenever they do something that Mommy doesn’t want them to do or engage in improper behaviour like fighting , etc. – they will get sent to the Timeout area .

For small kids who don’t want to cooperate, Mommy unfortunately, has to be spend time in the Timeout area to ensure their cooperation.  You may have to restrain your child and have him/her seated on your lap facing the wall until the time is up.

For bigger children who refused to cooperate, you can add either extra five minutes to timeout or giving a punishment like being grounded for a week from playing in the yard or watching TV.

If your child is willing to stand and face the wall without need of any coercion, then you don’t need to restrain him/her.

To give a young child an idea of how long timeout is, the best is to use a kitchen time or the alarm on your phone to visually show them how long they have to wait. The timeout for very young children can be as short as 10 minutes to as long as 30 minutes to an hour depending on the gravity of the misbehaviour.

Remember to be consistent in implementing your timeouts .

To make your timeout effective, the timeout has to be implemented as soon as the improper behaviour happens so that the child can connect the two events together.  If I do this, then this is the consequence of my actions.

Prior to implementing the timeout, ask your child to think about what was wrong about what they did and why they shouldn’t have done it .  Timeout gives your child the time to think.  Let your child realize the consequences of his/her actions. Try not to do a sermon during timeout.

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