Time Out -- An alternative to spanking.

There are many times when ignoring inappropriate behavior is the best thing to do. However, there are other times when your child's behavior is too extreme to be ignored. At times like these, parents have to interrupt or stop their child's behavior.There are times when time out can work very well. Time out is a plan in which your child spends a short time by herself. Children spend this time in a quiet and safe place out of the way of busy activity. Time out can work because it stops your child from getting attention for the troublesome behavior, it lets your child know clearly that what she was doing was not okay,

and gives everyone a chance to calm down.

Before you begin to use time out with your children it is important to tell them how it is going to work. Be sure to explain time out at a time when you and the children are getting along and everyone is calm. Be specific in telling them the behaviors that will call for time out. Tell them where they need to go each time and how long they will need to stay there.

It can take a while to learn how to make some things work out easily for you. Below are some things to remember as you are using the time out method.

  • Be consistent in praising appropriate and positive behavior. This is the best way to help your child continue his good behavior.

  • Be consistent in using time out.

  • Be sure to notice and reward good behavior after time out.

  • Reserve time out for serious misbehavior such as fighting or intentional destruction of things, not for mistakes.

  • Chose a time out space that is away from family activities, but safe and non-frightening.

  • Use time out right after the misbehavior occurs.

  • For children between 3 and 5 years old, make time out 5 minutes long. For older children, add 1 minute for each year over five. (So a 6 year old will spend 6 minutes in time out.)

  • Don't talk to your child when she is in time out.

  • When time out is over, calmly explain to the child why she was sent to the time out space and what behavior you will expect in the future.