Fine Tuning Time Outs

If you answer “yes” to any of the following, you may need a tune up!

1. Do you make it uncomfortable? In the corner with the child’s nose on the wall.

2. Do you send your child away ?  old-retro-wooden-chair-sketching_QyQkFf

3. Does your child get choices how to sit in time out? 

4.  Do you set a specific time based on your child’s age?

 I  faithfully followed the rule of one minute per year.

 For example:  

6 years old = 6 minutes  


5. Do you have a standard consequence communicated and known by you and your child?


I had lots of ideas, but not anything that worked well.


This is the beauty of older moms being in our lives.  I have an amazing friend who I spend time with each week.  We have a weekly get together with moms, including experienced moms.  Out of this time comes some priceless helps that rescue me from my  tendency to vacillate between different methods of discipline. I would say the majority of moms would benefit from this type of support and mentoring.  Here is my disclaimer:  all situations are not the same, all children are not the same.

For the majority of parents, I think “time out” can be an effective way to reach your children instead of just punishing them.


Where do you send your child for “time out”?  You designate a chair, a regular chair.  Not a rocking chair, couch or cushioned chair.  Have it in a designated place within your view.  Sometimes we desperately want a reprieve and sending them away is a relief.  But sending them away can backfire. Your child may enjoy being in time out or they may feel like they are banished.

How does your child sit in time out?1 timeout

My suggestion would be as still as possible. The clincher is to have your child place her hands under her legs so that she can’t fidget, touch or play with anything.     If her feet become distractions, have her cross her legs




When to use timeout?  Disobedience and willful challenges to parental authority are good reasons to send a child to “time out”.   


If your child is overreacting, another option is a HUG for both of you.  Sometimes we overreact to a child overreacting and it is not a good scenario.

1 hugs

How long does he need to stay in “time out”?   Time out” lasts as long as it takes for your son or daughter to comply.  This puts the responsibility on the child.

Be prepared, depending on the will of your child, you may have to be strong to the finish.  If you are weak on following through, your son will push harder the next time.  You must wait for his demeanor to change.

No yelling, crying or talking back. (you or your child)  Teach him to respond with “I am ready to obey”.

When he is ready, don’t rush over and rescue him.  Respond, “I will be there in a few minutes.” Take your time.  Remember you are making sure little Johnny isn’t telling you to jump to it and come and get him!  

He must wait for direction from you, and you will come.  Don’t lecture him.  He must speak in a respectful way and comply with whatever he was previously resisting.

Simply ask him “What happened ” and  What are going to do now?   (For example, go clean up, change his attitude, ask for forgiveness, etc.)


You may think to yourself, “That is such a minor consequence…to sit for a few minutes until the child is ready to obey.”  I would agree, but I have watched my children get themselves under control to a place of obeying with a happy heart.   Remember that your child needs to respect authority and you must do something!

Before implementing time out, show what is expected. Explain what type of behaviors will get him sent to “time out”, what he is supposed to do during “time out, and the response he needs to have to be able to get released. Keep in mind that my children are ages 5-9.  I do see this working with children as young as 3 and as old as 12.

“Time out” encourages your child to think and to respond respectfully.  It is not the only method.  If you are looking for a way to get your child’s attention, “time out” is a very useful tool.


I promise it is worth the time!

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