How to Make That Time-Out Effective

How to Make That Time-Out Effective

Warning: These strategies really work. Give them a try the next time you need them.


By: Aimelin S.

Disciplining our children is one of the most difficult processes parents go through. I personally do not like to do it, but I find myself in situations where it’s needed quite often. I think that if we can avoid certain events or certain triggers and teach our children to reflect on their behavior rather than intensify their anger at the mention of the word “timeout,” we have won half the battle.

But how do we get to this point? How do we make them understand what it means? Keep reading - here I will share what I have learned from experience.

1. A Change of Heart
Many of us believe that a timeout should be a punishment for our children, and in fact, I grew up with that experience. However, if we take a more empathetic approach toward our children’s attitudes and investigate their behaviors, it could change time-outs into a rewarding moment of emotional development that will aid in them in learning.

For example, my children “destroyed” everything, but as time passed I saw it with different eyes. I realized that when they were taking apart the bedside lamps, it was not because they wanted to misbehave, but did so out of pure curiosity. This attitude change led to positive results when I began providing them with toys they could put together and take apart whenever they desired, without the possibility of getting hurt.

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2. We Mean Business, Chicos
Children are unpredictable. The word “self-control” is not high on your child’s priority list. When they cross the line, our responsibility as parents is to let them know how to behave and what works to get them to behave that way. For example, redirection did not work at all with my children, but negotiation worked like a charm.

Keeping in mind that you cannot negotiate everything with them, we should be flexible enough if we want to teach them to take control and think about the consequences their actions will have. I never negotiated a timeout with my children, but I did give them the option of choosing where they would isolate themselves and reflect upon their actions.

3. Make it Visual
Approximately 65 percent of the population is made up of visual learners, and 90 percent of the information we receive is visually absorbed.

Comics and drawings are very attractive to children. They do not have to be able to read a lot to understand. Plus, they’re entertaining. Before leaving for the grocery store, show them a comic strip or a picture that represents the behavior you expect from them and the consequences to come if they do not behave in such a way. Preparing them before that shrieking tantrum in the cookie aisle will teach them to know better, to exercise caution and it will strengthen their confidence.

What steps are you taking to make sure timeouts are effective?


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