Are time outs working for you? - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Are time outs working for you?
Pom's Avatar Pom 02:49 AM 12-22-2002
Today was asked by our friend who often watches dd (16.5 months) what we want her to do about discipline...she does time outs with her dh...all we've been doing is repetetive "no's" and redirection...

For those of you doing Time Outs...when did you start, and is it working for you???

leafylady's Avatar leafylady 11:01 AM 12-22-2002
We started with in-the-lap timeouts somewhere in that 14-16 month age range. It worked because he never wanted to slow down. Timeouts have gradually changed as he changes. Right now the offending toy gets lots of timeouts rather than the boy.
Do a search on timeouts in gentle discipline. You will see a lot of different interpretations and ways of using them.
Mommiska's Avatar Mommiska 06:14 PM 12-22-2002
We also did the 'hold in the lap' time-out briefly with my oldest dd (who is now 3...we probably started around 18/19 months). We haven't done that with dd2 at all so far.

I'm not sure whether or not they worked with dd1, though...she's a pretty easy going child, and there weren't too many 'time-outs' going around. So maybe they did?

Right now we do what could be called 'time-out' (again with dd1)...if she's really lost it over something, I take her up to her bedroom, explaining that this behaviour (whatever it is) isn't acceptable, and while we'll really miss her while she's gone, she needs to be alone until she's able to not behave in that manner.

Then we leave it up to her when she comes down, etc. This seems to be working very well. We rarely have to take her upstairs and she usually comes down very quickly in a much more agreeable frame of mind...

I should probably add that dd2 is 19 months old, and we just redirect with time-outs of any form so far...

Hope that helps.
teachma's Avatar teachma 07:27 PM 12-22-2002
At the home of his child care provider, I am told, time outs are very affective for disciplining my 2 year old. He is placed on a couch in the play room and told, in a couple of minutes, when he can re enter the play situation. He is given time outs infrequently (less than 1 a week, usually) which, in my opinion, helps to make the impact that much more serious. My care provider says he usually cries for most of the time butstops immediately and resumes his happy play when set free. At home...hmm...they are much less effective. He won't stay in his time out spot for more than 15 seconds. The good thing is that even after a 15 second time out, he does return to play nicely rather than continue the unacceptable behaviour. Oh, and I think at child care, they started the time outs at around a year. My son had already been walking and talking for a while, so I think they have just always considered him "older" than his age.
mirlee's Avatar mirlee 08:41 PM 12-22-2002
We have used a combination of redirection and time out. Redirection worked pretty well when he was 1 until he was 2. After that it was time out time. We used his playpen as the place for time outs. It was safe and he couldn't go anywhere. Sitting him on the couch didn't work because he would just get up and run.

Now that he is nearing 3, we still use time outs. We have a chair that faces the wall that he sits in. We turn off all music. He needs to have no interruptions or else he thinks we are playing a game and giggles the whole time. If we are out and he is really bad, he gets time out in dad's lap. I also usually leave the room and go to a place where I can see him, but he can't see me. Time outs actually have a big effect. One time out and he can be perfect or near perfect the rest of the day.

We always let him know why he is getting a time out and explain that his behavior was not appropriate. We also ask him why he did something. We hope that our discussions about right and wrong behavior help.

After much trial and error, this is the strategy that works best for us.

levar's Avatar levar 01:44 AM 12-24-2002
We have been using time outs for a while. I cant remember doing them before we moved in August, but we probably did -- and I know Taylor's school did them to other kids so he knew what they were.
We started with a timer and 30 seconds when he was a little over two years old. [And worked our way up to 2 minutes, one for each year of age] To start we give him a warning like "do xyz again and you go into a timeout" and if he does it again we put him in the kitchen against the dishwasher set the timer and say "you are in timeout for 30 seconds because you did xyz" and we stand just out of sight in the dining room ... Then when the timer goes off we sit down on the floor and have a small "discussion" that usually goes like this "do you know why you are in timeout?" "yes, xyz" "dont do it again, right?" "yes" and then he has to make amends for xyz by saying sorry, kissing boo boo, cleaning mess, etc.
We added one alternative to this recently. Dinner time. We kept puting Taylor in time outs during meals by taking him out of his chair etc which was exactly what he wanted us to do!! So now [this really shocked him the first time, you wouldnt believe it] we turn his chair around to face the wall so he cant see ANYTHING else and that is where he sits instead of the kitchen. Works like a charm.
We are still not sure what to do in public though. I have left restraunts and stores to try a time out in the car, but that is usually where he wants to go in the first place [same as dinner table getting down etc] so what instead? Threats for a timeout "later" are useless and he knows it.
teachma's Avatar teachma 11:52 PM 12-26-2002
It's interesting to me that a pre-time out warning works for some of you. Any single time I give a warning like, "If you do X again, you'll have a time out," my son ALWAYS does it again, immediately, and stares me right in the eye whie doing so. Uuuggh! So the warning doesn't work for us, AT ALL, but a time out for something really bad kind of stops the cycle of misbehavior for him, and he's expecailly catiuos about his actions when he emerges from the time out.
Pom's Avatar Pom 01:21 AM 12-27-2002
Thanks everyone. It seems much like everything else where it depends so much on the individual child? And it seems that my dd is in the no man'sl and of time out age -- not yet 2...but it helps to hear your sides of it...

I totally trust our daycare/nanny/friend and think we'll let her do timeouts with dd. Seems only fair since she does them with her son and I don't want either of them to think the other has an unfair advantage, or different rules...

DD is pretty headstrong, so it should be interesting to see how it works...
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 03:29 AM 12-27-2002
teachma, it sounds like your son is testing you to see if you are consistent with your threats. Keep following through and he'll move on to testing you in different areas. (it never ends! lol!)

Time out works great for some things but I try to first think of a natural consequence or logical consequence. Such as if she's throwing something I take it away. If she's throwing her food she must be finished with dinner (and won't get anything more until the next meal or snack time). She listens to warnings most of the time but still will test me in new situations. She also responds to a 1-2-3 countdown which gives her the time, for example, to cease standing on the dinner table. If I get to three she gets a time out or whatever the consequence is for that action.

Time out for her is usually shutting her in a room and holding the door shut for 30-60 seconds. She hates it. Afterwards I give her a hug and most of the time she hugs back. Then I tell her "no hitting" or whatever it was and ask her to repeat it back to me so I know she heard me. I tried just sitting her on my lap facing a wall but she didn't respond to that one at all so now she's shut in a room.

I also give a time-out of sorts if, say, she's trying to climb on me while I'm sitting on the toilet and I ask her to get down and she continues doing it. It's not her wanting to be close, it's her wanting me as a stepstool to getting on the counter. So I will after a warning gently push her out of the bathroom and close and lock the door. Now she's happy to just keep me company instead of climbing on me.

I think we should give toddlers a lot more credit that some do. They understand a whole lot more about things than they can sometimes communicate back, so using warnings, counting, and natural consequences is IMO okay at this age. Before 18 mos. it was totally useless. Only when her language came in better did she really start to understand the warnings and what time-out means.

and Abirami 12/00
LaDeesseduTout's Avatar LaDeesseduTout 03:15 PM 12-27-2002
I have a spirited almost 3 yo DS (gee only 3 months until he's 3 where does the time go...anyway)

We use time outs often. They seem to work well. We started when he was about 2.

Depending on the situation, we handle time outs differently. Generally they are two mins, but if I spend the entire time making him sit down he gets and extra min here or there....

If we are home and he is just emotionally out of control, I will pick him up and say "I think you need a should sit and calm down for a little bit" Usually he sits on the couch or where ever is close.

He generally always get a "no it is not very nice when you do ____ please don't do that again" then he gets re directed - if he countinues to do _____ then he gets a time out warning and I count to 5 for him to stop the bad behavior - then he gets a time out

If we are at a friends house, (we stay with my sister a lot on the weekends) I find it harder to get his attention when there are people around or things going on, so I generally take him to a different room away from everything and stay with him for the two minutes.

If we are in public like the mall and he is walking, he then has to be carried, or put in the stroller or cart until he calms down. I have even had to take him outside for some air, when he won't calm down while being held and flails around kicking and screaming and pulling hair

If its a certain object he can't behave while using - the object then gets a time out instead.

When ever time outs are over, I normally sit down with DS and try to explain why it was wrong, to do certain things, and what is a better way to express intense emotion like anger with out hitting, or boredom with out throwing his food ect....

I am not sure how well this is working, I am often at my wits end with DS behavior - he is very high needs and head strong - and rambunctious - we do have to use time outs often - but I like to believe its working.....and over time things will get better.

Whew...this is long....sorry......I can't ever keep things short and sweet not IRL either!!

teachma's Avatar teachma 07:42 PM 12-27-2002
Yeah, we do the time outs for objects too. We have a high shelf, and if ds is misusing a toy in a way that is dangerous, the object goes up until after naptime or til the next day. I also occasionally give myself a time out if ds is playing with me in a way I don't like.