I was never a proponent of time out but I find myself using it as an alternative. what techniques do you find most effective?
time out...how's that working for you?
Alternative to what?
I used it occasionally with my kids, more as a way to dampen a fire than as a punishment. In fact I can't say as I ever used it just to punish. But if someone was riled up and I could see that the situation was only going to get hotter I would send that person to the bedroom.
It worked sometimes, sometimes not.
In our home it works to diffuse the situation. With my 4 yr old daughter it gives her a moment to calm down where she most likely would not if able to follow us and continue on with her tantrum. With my almost 2 yr old son it is only used when he hits as he is very aggressive and I'm not sure what else to do. We do teach gentle hands and he definitely understands, but he thinks aggressive behavior is funny/fun. So when he hits then he sits and then needs to apologize to the victim, usually his sister.
We use the bottom steps on our staircase as the timeout spot. I use it only as a last resort you are driving me crazy type of punishment, my husband sometimes uses it for things I might let slide. I think in our home it works mostly because we do not over-use it. My daughter knows that as soon as she calms down then she can get up. Lately she has been taking herself to her room when she is upset and then coming down later when she is calm, I love this:) As for my son he understands mommy is mad that he hit so he probably sees it more negatively though he spends half the time laughing and trying to run away lol. There is no set time for either of them, more of a time of reflection.
Honestly, I think it's more for me than for her. I send her to her room when I'm feeling really ticked off about something she's done and losing my grip on my patience. I just need a few minutes to cool off so I don't scream and yell (I've done that a few times and I felt AWFUL). Sometimes I just put myself in time-out in my own room instead, depending on the issue involved.
We do our own version. I tell my daughter we need to take a break. We sit together on the sofa or on her bed and have a little chat about the situation. 'Have a little chat' and 'take a break' have become our code words. She knows it is serious and we devote some time to figuring out what is going on for each of us. We talk a lot in calmer moments about recent experiences we have had. She is only 4 and I think we have a remarkable relationship of mutual respect, trust, and understanding.
We have done one time out, still referred to as a break, alone in her room for 4 minutes after she hit and kicked me. I have non-negotiable rules around violence. She has not hit or kicked me since. It was not a pleasant experience for either of us. I much prefer our little chats :)
It's so dependent on the age of the child and the situation. I don't give timeouts as a one-size-fits-all punishment, but I will send my DD to calm down in her room if she is verbally or physically aggressive and can't be reasoned with. I don't give timeouts to my DS because he's too young to understand. If you look at the gentle discipline articles on this site you can find lots of great resources.