For many moms when it comes to timeout it can be quite confusing. In fact, some moms avoid it altogether and go straight to spanking instead. But with a proper time out many of those spankings can be avoided, which would be nice for you moms!
Today there is so much information about how to do a timeout that it can be hard as a parent to figure out what the best method is for you and your kids. Many moms are straying from the time out for multiple reasons and I want to quickly address those. If you are a firm believer in timeout but aren’t sure how to implement it, then scroll down to read about the method.
Why is it Important?
One thing I hear often is that timeout isolates the child and doesn’t allow them to process and understand their feelings. Yes, this can be true but as long as timeout is done correctly then this is addressed. Parents often skip the last step of timeout because the child is now calm and they think all is well. After reading this method, you will find that the last steps are so important!! This is where you take time to talk about what happened and teach your child to understand why it was wrong and why we don’t act that way.
Redirecting your child to the correct behavior is also an important part of the last step. I will always ask the child, “What will you do differently next time?”. This allows the child to learn the correct way they are supposed to act in your home and in public.
In today’s world we can’t skip the timeout and allow our children to rule the home. It will only continue to get worse from there as they grow older. They wont learn how to deal with their emotions and how to correct them when they begin to feel a certain emotion.
Timeout is very important for teaching respect in the home as well. You are the parent, your child should not be the one in charge of the house. Timeout is a way of teaching our children that when they don’t behave in a way that is respectful then there are consequences.
On top of the importance of teaching your child to cool down, it allows you as a parent/caregiver to have time to cool down yourself. It allows you to respond instead of react. You calmly place them in timeout, tell them why, walk away, and calm down yourself. It’s so important for us to give ourselves the timeout as well!
If you have any more questions about why I believe timeout is an important discipline, I would love to hear from you!
How Long Does it Take to Establish?
If your child is not used to timeout, then know that this method may take a while to get down. If you are very consistent with it then I believe that your child will understand it within a week. That is to be expected because the child has yet to learn what timeout is all about. It is important to be consistent with this method because if you are not, it will never work.
The most important thing to remember while implementing a timeout is that you are in charge. You are the parent, nanny, or caregiver. Take your role seriously.
Where Should the Timeout Be?
The first thing you will want to do is designate a timeout spot. Be sure to tell your kids ahead of time so that they know next time they get in trouble, this is where they will need to sit.
I do NOT recommend putting them in their room or wherever toys might be nearby. Find a wall, without any toys around, in the living room, kitchen, or dining area for them to sit down by. You can even designate a timeout chair that is next to the wall for your child to sit in during timeout.
1. Use a firm voice to tell your child that if they do not stop what they are doing (be specific) then they will be placed in timeout.
If they continue acting out after you told them to stop, proceed with these steps:
2. Hold their hand, or pick them up if you have to, and place them in the designated timeout spot.
Get down on their level and tell them why they are being put in time out and that they must stay there for a certain amount of time (# of minutes = child’s age. If the child is over 4 years old, then I stick with 4 minutes).
3. Walk away and set the timer
If they get out of the timeout spot or continue to scream, then their timeout does not start until they are quiet and in the timeout spot. You may have to put them back 60 or more times (no joke) but this is what establishing timeout is all about. BE STRONG! Just remember it won’t be like this every time. Eventually they will understand what time out is, as long as you do the same thing every time.
4. Once the timer is off, go back over to your child.
Get on their level and tell them again why you placed them in time out (or ask them if they are older). Tell them they need to apologize to you for not listening. Talk about or ask how they can change things next time they begin to feel that way.
5. Before getting up from time out, give hugs, kisses, and say “I love you”.
The 7-year-old I watched who got put in time out frequently pretended to hate the hugs at the end but I knew he actually loved it! It helps them to feel accepted by you even though they messed up.
Once you are consistent with this timeout method, your child will learn how to deal with their emotions, correct their behavior, and know they are still so loved even when they mess up sometimes. It is so important to have the time at the end to reflect on the situation. Your child needs to know how and why they feel the way they do.
This time out method has been very effective for the many kids that I have had to use it with. When you have to do a timeout with a child for the first time, it can be so hard and take a lot out of you as a parent/caregiver; but now when I give the kids a firm warning, they know to take it seriously. They learn that they have to pay with their time for their actions and learn how to better handle their emotions next time.
I would love to hear how this method works for you and if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! You are so strong! Your child will thrive when they realize you are in charge, not them!