Does your child run away every time you put them in timeout? Do they scream, yell or throw a tantrum? Do they become physical with you? Time Outs, Naughty Spot, Thinking Chair....what ever you call it, if you consistently follow these steps, you will be able to make your child’s timeouts effective.
Before using time outs, show your child the designated spot and explain to them they will sit there for a few minutes if they misbehave. Be sure that the time out spot is away from toys, television and other distractions. You can designate a chair, bench, step stool, stair step or even a spot in the hallway.
When your child is misbehaving or has broken a house rule, give them a warning. Example: Bobby, I’m giving you a warning because you are jumping on the couch. If you continue to jump on the couch, then you will go to timeout.
If your child continues the action or behavior after you have given them one warning, send them to timeout.
Walk your child to the timeout location. Squat down, so you are eye level with them and tell them why they are being put in timeout. Example: Bobby, I’m putting you in timeout because you were jumping on the couch. That behavior is not acceptable. You will stay in timeout until I come to get you.
Tip: Each child will serve the amount of minutes for each year they are old. A 5 year old will serve 5 minutes in timeout.
Set a timer for the amount of minutes the child will spend in timeout. Do not talk to your child while they are in timeout. This is their time to think about the decisions they made.
If you child screams and cries ; ignore their attempts to get your attention until their time is up.
If you have a runner, take your child back to the timeout spot without speaking to them. Reset the timer to the original time. If they continue to leave the timeout spot, continue to place them back and reset the timer.
Don’t give up! This part might be the toughest part for you. This timeout process will work once your child realizes that they will not be able to do anything else until they serve their timeout.
When the timer goes off, return to your child and squatting down, remind them why they were put in timeout. Example: Bobby, I put you in timeout because you were jumping on the couch. That behavior is not acceptable.
Then, ask your child to say that they are sorry for what they did. You both need to give hugs and kisses and this is the end of the timeout session. Don’t discuss the behavior anymore with your child. They have served their time and are now done.
When followed consistently, this process will take the stress out of timeouts for you. In the beginning, you may be placing your child in time out many times a day, but after a few weeks you will discover that your child's sentences in time out will lessen and their behavior will improve with just a warning.
Tip: Time outs will also work when you are away from home. You will need to establish a timeout spot for your child and follow the timeout process.
The most important thing to remember is to be consistent every time and your child will know what is expected of them.