Parent Tips: Set 1-Time Out!

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It's been around since dunce caps and corners. With a modern twist, time out can be a valuable disci

As we go about the business of teaching our children proper behavior, there are times when emotions threaten to get out of control. When this happens, it's wise to separate yourself from your child so that both of you can cool off. Time Out can be used as an effective, positive tool. There are three different ways to use Time Out, each having a different purpose:

1. To give a child the time and space to cool off and calm down.
The key here is in the attitude of the parent. In advance, let your child know that when his behavior is out of control he'll be asked to go to his room. Tell him that when he is calm and under control he may join the family. How he chooses to use the time is his business, as long as it's respectful to people and property. Screaming or pounding the door is not acceptable, reading a book or listening to his headset is fine. The purpose here is to teach a child how to gain control of his angry emotions. This is a valuable life skill that will prevent your child from "flying off the handle" and saying and doing things he will regret later.

Never drag a child to his Time Out! This robs you of the upper hand and makes you look foolish. Let him know in advance that when asked to remove himself he needs to do so immediately. If he does not, he'll be choosing to give up a priviledge (one you have specificed in advance), in addition to the Time Out.

2. To give a parent the time and space to cool off and calm down.
There are times when we get so angry at our children that we want to scream, hit or ground them for life! This is the time to use a four-letter-word: E X I T. Make a brief statement, "I'm so angry I need a minute to think." Then go to your room or send the child to his room so that you can calm down and regroup. This will help you get yourself under control, and it will provide a good role model for your child.

3. As a method for stopping a specific misbehavior.
This can be an excellent way to put an immediate stop to a child's action. It brings a strong message, "This behavior is unacceptable and will stop now." There are several keys:

Be Quick
Catch your child in the act. Delayed reactions dilute the effect.
Use selectively
Use for hitting, back-talk, whining or other specific problems. Don't over-use it!
Keep calm
Your anger only adds fuel to the fire and changes the focus from the behavior of your child to your anger. This prevents you from being in control.
Stick with it
Once you say "Time Out" don't back down or be talked out of it. If you decide to use Time Out to control hitting, for example, use it each and every time your child hits, even if he spends the whole day in Time Out! Eventually, he'll decide that it's more fun to play without hitting than to sit alone in his room.
Time Out is one more effective discipline tool for parents. When used with other methods it will help you feel good about the job you are doing with your kids.

Time Out is not just for little kids!

Credits: Elizabeth Pantley

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