Timeout: Discipline System for Grandchildren.

Grandchildren and timeout:Time-outs can effectively stop behaviors that are especiallyhard to discipline. It can also serve as disciplinary action for a particularly aggressiveor impulsive grandkid! The discipline problems timeout can solve include everything from atemper tantrum to name-calling to cursing, spitting  and biting.


General Time-Out Information. A Discipline Series.

Jan Wilson

Time-outs are a "stop" behavior discipline rather than a "start" behavior discipline. Time-outs are not useful for homework, chores, and the like.


Time-outs can serve as a stop-behavior discipline that includes everything from a temper tantrum to cursing  to spitting to horsing around to biting.



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

If your grandchild is very angry or actually having a tantrum, time-outs can be a very effective form of discipline. They are a "stop" behavior discipline rather than a "start" behavior discipline.

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

Start the  time-out before you lose your temper. It adds effectiveness to your discipline since the child has more confidence in your consistency.

It is best if all adults and older siblings follow the same rules to use this form of discipline. This includes parents, grandparents and caregivers.

Time out 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.


It is best if all adults and older siblings  follow the same rules to use this form of discipline. This includes parents,  grandparents and caregivers.

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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 hug my grandchildren and tell them I love them. It does not "dilute" the discipline power of the time-out.

Regardless of hugs and love affirmations, always cheerfully welcome your grandchild back when the time-out is over.

You may use  the potential time-out 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 time-out as a prediscipline warning, speak calmly and say, "If you can not calm down,  you will have a timeout period."

If this excellent form of discipline appeals to you, get the whole story by buying the publication. Phelan’s book, 1-2-3 Magic, Training Your Child to Do What You Want. In addition to very thorough coverage of his counting method for time-out, Phelan also includes a section for teachers, a section for more serious stop-behaviors, such as lying, stealing, or playing with fire, and a section for start-behavior tactics.

This book is a must-read for parents  and grandparents of children aged two up to early teens.

Buy CD
BuySpanish Edition  
Buy Teachers’ Edition 

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If your child is nearing the teen years, you might want to invest in another good book by Thomas Phelan,  Surviving Your Adolescents.  Phelan has also written about self-esteem in  children and dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD). His combined knowledge allows him great insight into teens. In the book on adolescence, Dr. Phelan gives a step-by-step approach that helps end hassles while allowing parents and children to keep their self-respect. This book abounds with concrete solutions to life with a teen-ager.

It is also available in cassette for those of us who need to save time.

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