Where Your Kids should Take a Time-Out
One of the most important things about time-outs is choosing WHERE to do it. A few things to consider:
- Find a place that is BORING. This should be away from the flow of the play. Away from the television. Away from the fun.
- Do not use a child’s room. They can still have fun alone in their room!
- There should be no breakable objects nearby. Enough said.
- It’s best to have the child sit in a full-size chair (not a recliner or soft chair).
- If you use a separate room, do not turn off the lights or close a door. The idea is to take your child away from the fun, not scare him!
Our children have time-out in the dining room. It’s away from the “fun” in the living room but still visible. I turn the chair away from the living room/play/television.
A chair turned to the corner of any room can also work.
Our kitchen chairs are tall chairs, and the children’s feet cannot touch the ground. They have to make an effort to get down. I’ve found this very helpful in helping them obey!
Before using time-out, it’s important to explain it. Even if you do a form of time-out now, take time to explain the rules and show your child how it works.
When we learned time-out at the therapist’s office, we used a stuffed animal to “act out” the time-out sequence. “Mr. Fluffy” modeled disobedience, and then I went through the routine.
“Mr. Fluffy, please pick up the blue car.”
“No.” (My voice pretended to be the toy rabbit.)
“Mr. Fluffy, I asked you to please pick up the blue car. You have two choices, either pick up the blue car or you must go to time-out.”
“Okay, Mr. Fluffy, you did not obey. You CHOOSE to go in time-out. Since you are three years old, you must stay in time-out for three minutes.”
As I’m acting through this sequence, the child’s eyes are GLUED to it. She wants to see what happens.
After a minute passes (time sped up for example), I then go to Mr. Fluffy. “Mr. Fluffy, time-out is over. Are you ready to go pick up the blue car?”
The toy bunny (with my help) then goes and picks up the blue car.
“Great job, Mr. Fluffy.” Applause, praise. “Now Mr. Fluffy please pick up the yellow car.”
It’s important to follow the first command with a second to reinforce obedience. More applause, more praise when it’s accomplished.
Sometimes you need to “act this out” a few times for your children to understand. But they will pick it up quickly!
Why don’t you give it a try! I’d love your thoughts on how the example with “Mr. Fluffy” works out!
And on the next post I’ll share more about what time-out should look like once your child is in the chair.