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Articles of Interest
Behavior Management
Using Behavior Charts
Reward Ideas
Consequences For Young Kids & Toddlers
When To Negotiate With Kids
Summer Vacation Problems
Kids Stealing From Parents
Attention Seeking Behavior
Why You Shouldn't Argue With Your Child
Bedtime Arguments And Homework
Regain Parental Control
Dealing With Defiant Young Kids and Toddlers
Using Natural Consequences
Summer Break Strategies
Create Accountability During Summer Break
Gaining Respect From Kids
Parenting Angry Teens
When Good Kids Misbehave
When Kids Only Act Out At Home
When No Means No
Start Parenting More Effectively
When Kids Ignore Consequences
When Your Kids Ignore You
Giving Effective Time-Outs
Dealing With Power Struggles Part 1
Avoiding Power Struggles Part 2
Setting Limits With Difficult Kids
How To Stop A Fight
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Manipulative Behavior
Keep Your Summer Break Peaceful
Summer Survival For Parents
Disciplining Your Two Year Old
How To Stop Kids From Cursing
Inappropriate Soiling
Consequences For Teens
The Truth About Bullies
Stopping A Temper Tantrum

Potty Training

School

Classroom Management

Classroom Management Strategies

First Year Survival

Stop Bullying In Your Classroom

Controlling The Uncontrollable Class

Child Development

Birth to Age Five

Six to Eleven

Preteens & Teens

Importance Of Play In Child Development

Chores

Sleep

ADHD/ADD

Tips For Parenting ADHD and  Spirited Kids

Unlocking The Secrets To Good Behavior

Summer Planning For A Child With ADHD

Stress Management

Stress Management Tips

Stress-Guarding Your Family

Managing Holiday Stress

Preventing Parental Burnout

How To Be A Calm Parent

Alternative Families

General Parenting/Family 

Top 5 Parenting Mistakes
Parenting The Child You Have
Gaining Respect From Kids
Spending Money On Kids
Fix Your Morning Routine
Perfect Parents Dont Exist
How To Interview A Nanny
When Good Parents Have Difficult Children
Parenting Gifted Children
New Year's Resolutions For Parents
Deciding Appropriate Parenting Rules
Is Your Child A Know-it-all?
Successful Goal Setting
Walking Away From A Fight With Your Child
Creating Accountability In Your Home
Good Cop Bad Cop Parenting
Help Transition Your Kids Through Divorce
Parenting Picky Eaters
When Toddlers Are Picky Eaters
Help Kids Cope With Pet Loss
Great Book Series For Kids
What You Shouldn't Say To Your Kids

Keep Cool When Kids Push Your Buttons

Parenting Your Teen
Helping Kids Adjust To The New Baby
Summer Structure For Kids
Teaching Kids How To Save Money
Selecting The Right Pet
75 Ways To Say Good Job
Getting Kids To Love Reading

Why Boredom Is Good For Kids
Getting Along With Your Preteen
Bedwetting Solutions
Summer Job Ideas For Teens
Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween Party Snack Ideas
Autism/Sensory Disorders/Anxiety
Tips To Tackle Tricky Behaviors
 

 

   

 

 

Using Effective Time-Outs

 

  

 

Many parents use the same type of discipline for every problem situation. One tool, however, is rarely effective for all situations. Plus, overusing one particular tool also reduces its usefulness. Timeout is just one tool -- and it really isn't a "discipline" tool; it's an effective anger-management tool. Since the purpose of a timeout is to help someone regain control, it is most appropriate to use when someone has lost self-control or there is extremely disruptive behavior.

 

 

Most adults have the mistaken idea that the whole point of sending children to timeout is to make the child suffer for their misbehavior. "You go to your room (or chair) and think about what you did." The tone of voice usually implies, "and you suffer." Imposing suffering only brings on more resentment and power struggles. Effective discipline, however, teaches children lessons from their poor behavior choices, rather than punishing them. If you want timeouts to be constructive, try following these guidelines:

Develop a plan in advance. Teach children during a happy time about the value of a cooling-off period. Say, "When you feel like you're going to lose control, you can go (specify the place) and do something to make yourself feel better. Then, when you feel better, come out and we can work on a solution."

Teach children how to regain self-control. Suggest things the child can do to calm down while in timeout. Older children can help decide where to go and what they can do to help themselves calm down.

Allow the child to play. Many parents are upset when they find their child playing during timeout, but it's actually a good sign that the child has regained self-control. If they are ready to play, children might also be ready to do some problem solving.

Select a location for the time-out. Some children calm down faster when they are alone and in a quiet place. Other children have too much energy to be forced to sit still. Some children become more out-of-control and hurtful when they are forced to spend timeouts alone. These children can cool off in the same room as other people, as long as they aren't disruptive.

Some parents hesitate to use a child's room for fear the child will view the bedroom as a prison. If the timeout is initiated kindly and the goal is to give the child and you some quiet space, children won't see it as punishment. If you feel the child will be destructive, plan ahead and remove or put objects you don't want destroyed out of reach.

If you force a child to stay in a chair or room, it shifts the focus from what they did and their responsibility for calming down to who is in power. This turns the timeout into a punishment, which removes its effectiveness.

Present time-outs as a choice. A child can choose to settle down or take some time out. Suggest the timeout in a kind and firm manner, followed by the encouraging instructions to come back when the child is ready.

Avoid timers. Use the child's ability to regain self-control or willingness to act appropriately to decide how long a timeout should last. Timers often turn timeouts into power struggles. If children have calmed down and are ready to return but parents won't let them "come out," it often escalates the situation. If children return before they have calmed down, firmly but kindly return them to the timeout and reemphasize the purpose is to cool off. Describe the behavior you want to see that shows they are calm.

When a timeout is over: If the child lost control due to anger, let it go and don't call attention to the behavior you want to stop. If the problem is serious or recurring, wait until both of you have calmed down and then use problem solving to generate ideas for handling the situation differently in the future.

Think about your long-term goal. If you want children to learn that it is their responsibility to control their behavior, use timeouts as cooling off periods which teach children how to achieve this self-control.

 

 By Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE

Jody Johnston Pawel is a Licensed Social Worker, Certified Family Life Educator, second-generation parent educator, founder of The Family Network, and President of Parents Toolshop Consulting. She is the author of 100+ parent education resources, including her award-winning book, The Parent's Toolshop. For 25+ years, Jody has trained parents and family professionals through her dynamic workshops and interviews with the media worldwide, including Parents and Working Mother magazines, and the Ident-a-Kid television series. Jody currently serves as the online parenting expert for Cox Ohio Publishing?s mom-to-mom websites and also serves on the Advisory Board of the National Effective Parenting Initiative.
 

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