Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toddler Tuedays: Biggest Mistakes When Giving Time Outs

First, let me say that in all my years working with children, time outs really seem to be the most effective way to give a consequence to a child ages 18 months (depending on maturity) to age 8 (also depends on maturity).  Also, let me add that giving time outs as a nanny is MUCH easier than as a mom!  However, when done correctly, I really believe that time outs can be an effective tool to teach a child boundaries and set limitations.  There are a lot of parents who feel that time outs are a waste of time, however, when parents stick to doing the time outs consistently, they are often successful. 
Here are a few of the top mistakes parents often make when giving time outs.

1.  Overuse.  It's imperative that time outs are reserved for urgent matters (dangerous situations or unacceptable behaviors) There are times when a parent is tired exhausted and may use a timeout when responding to a child's behavior that is not necessarily very critical for needing attention (for example whining, not listening, making a mistake).  These situations may just call for a reminder or warning instead of a time out.  Overusing time outs can lead a child to give up on 'trying to do the right thing'.  He or she may feel overwhelmed with demands and "throw in the towel" while trying to meet your expectations.

2.  Talking to much.  Once you get to the point of a timeout, there's no turning back meaning to discussion.  The only thing you need to say is "you need to be in time out" in a stoic/non emotional manner.

3.  Giving up too quickly.  The initial timeouts are usually the most difficult.  Once your child realizes what's expected (and what will be tolerated), they will give up and begin to stay in time out on their own, however, getting to that point can be brutal! I remember picking Sienna up and putting her back in time outs for 45 minutes the first few times I was using it.  The good news, you won't have to do this every time. Also, you won't need to go to the gym after this work out!;)

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