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Discipline & Time Out
Time out involves removing a child for a brief period of time and is effective in helping to set limits for children and teaching them what is appropriate. It is an extension of ignoring poor behaviour (i.e. removing attention which is inadvertently encouraging the behaviour) and helps parents or carers remain in control. It has been shown to be significantly more effective than smacking. It should be used sparingly, practised and is most appropriate when a child refuses to do as they're told. For more minor behavioural difficulties such as demanding alternative methods should be employed such as ignoring or removing a privilege.
Time out is most effective
for children between the ages of 2-6 and should not be used with very
The following procedure has been developed from the work of Forehand, R. & Long, N. (1996). Parenting The Strong Willed Child: The clinically proven five week programme for parents of two to six year olds.
Choose a Location
∑ Parents bedroom
∑ Kitchen corner( for 2-3 year olds)
∑ Use a corner or chair where there is nothing for the child to be distracted away from the punishment.
∑ Child's bedroom
∑ Dark room
∑ Know where a child could be frightened!
Issue a good direction
If your child does not begin to comply within 5 seconds issue a
warning, " If you do not ................, you will have to take
If your child does not comply within 5 seconds state, "
because you did not ..............., you have to take time out"
Lead your child to time out without lecturing scolding or
arguing. Withdraw to another room.
Ignore shouting, protesting and promising to comply. Avoid eye
Tell your child to sit in the time out chair or stand still in
the corner facing the wall.
When your child is sitting quietly, set the timer ( 1 minute
for every year of age up to a maximum of 5 minutes)
When the time is over, including being quiet for the last
thirty seconds return to the chair or corner and say that time out is
Restate the original direction
Implement the time out again if your child does not comply
When your child complies it is very important to use praise
so the child learns what behaviour is expected.
Steps to Using Time Out
Select time out place
Memorise the steps
Practice without your child
Tell your child about time out for non-compliance
Begin to use time out for failure to comply with directions
Begin using time out for other problem behaviours in the home
Begin using time out for other problems in public places
Avoid giving lengthy explanations about why you are
using time out.
Avoid trying to make your child feel guilty or to give
you an apology - you are aiming to get them to do what you wanted.
Don't let them make you feel guilty even if they say
they are going to comply before they get to the chair or corner. To
stop it before it is completed will give the message that - "I
donít have to comply until I have been warned and until I have been
sent to time out"
The message you want them to get is - "I should
comply when I am asked to do something"
Problems and Solutions
Refusing to sit in the chair - do not start time out
until your child is seated.
Leaving chair or moving - stop the timer.
Place him in chair tell him to sit still and place your
hand on his leg. Try to avoid eye contact.
Remove a privilege if he does not return to the chair
(for 5 year olds and up).
If you use a corner and your child attempts to come out
before time out is up, return him immediately without any fuss and
stand close with your back to the child.
Insulting you verbally - ignore the results
Yelling and crying - ignore
Refusing to leave the time out - start the time out
Sibling interaction during time out - if feasible put
the sibling in time out in another location
luck and donít for get to practise the technique and give it chance
to work (at least 2 weeks)! A child's negative response to the
punishment is understandable but in a relatively short period of time
will significantly subside as your child learns you mean business;
then the mere threat of time out will often result in compliance.
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