Time-out is a type of discipline that is used to stop a child from performing a bad behavior "isolating" the child for a period of time. Time-out helps establish that the parent is in charge, and allows the child to think about what he/she has done. Time-outs are useful for aggressive and harmful behaviors in toddlers and preschool-aged children.
The place for time-out to occur should be chosen ahead of time, not at the time of the behavior. The following are some examples of places for time-out:
- crib or play pen
- chairs or corners of the room
- a designated room
- A general guideline is one minute for each year of the child's age. For example, 3-year-olds get 3 minutes of time-out.
- A maximum length of time for time-out should be no more than 5 minutes.
- The reason the child is being sent to time-out should be explained to him/her in very clear statements.
- If the child does not go to time-out on his/her own, lead him/her there.
- Do not spank or yell on the way to time-out.
- As a parent, you decide when time-out is over, not the child. If the child "escapes" during time-out, restart the clock.
- Tell your child time-out is over and allow him/her to resume normal activities.
- Treat the child normally after time-out. Do not lecture again on the behavior.
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