General Information on Time-Out as a Discipline

Timeouts can effectively stop behaviors that are especially hard to discipline. It can also serve as disciplinary action for a particularly aggressive or impulsive kid! These discipline problems can include everything from a temper tantrum to cursing to name-calling to spitting to acting up and to biting.

They also serve to save your sanity from time-to-time!

If your child is very angry or actually having a tantrum, time-outs can be a very effective form of discipline. Start the time-out before you lose your temper. It adds effectiveness to your discipline since the child has more confidence in your consistency.

All adults and older siblings must follow the same rules to most effectively use this form of discipline. This includes grandparents and caregivers.

Timeout discipline tips include:

  • Don’t bargain, discuss or argue with children.
  • Use one minute of time-out for each year of age.
  • Ignore all yelling, sarcastic remarks, and screaming while time-out proceeds. You must even ignore cursing.
  • Use a timer. Set the timer only when the child is quiet, i.e., not screaming, cursing, banging around, or using disrespectful language.
  • After the time is over, open the door and permit the child to leave. There should be no further explanation, warning, or apology.

Some experts recommend a hug or affirmation of love. Others say you should act as if nothing unusual has happened and don’t hug or affirm love.

I always hugged my children and told them I loved them. It did not “dilute” the discipline power of the timeout.

Regardless of hugs and love affirmations, always cheerfully welcome your child back when the timeout is over.

You may use the potential timeout for warning purposes. Be certain you only give one warning, though, and always follow through. This is an effective disciplinary tool when combined with counting to three before starting time-out.

When using timeout as a pre-discipline warning, speak calmly and say, “If you can not calm down, you will have a timeout period.”

Jan Wilson

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