Toddler time-outs: 4 important facts to know

Follow these tips to make the most of giving your mini-me a short period to reflect on their bad behaviour.

Tots-Toddler-time-outs-4-important-facts-to-know-1

Your child’s toddler years will be a true test of your patience. Your little one will always find a way to push and bend the rules you’ve painstakingly put in place. So, you discipline them, in the hope that you can end their bad behaviour once and for all.

Giving junior a time-out is a positive parenting technique that has become popular among parents who prefer not to punish their child physically, such as by caning. Do take note of these important facts about giving time-outs…

1) Implement time-outs when your child is young

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, notes that giving time-outs to a young kid and continuing it when he’s older makes it more likely that he will comply. Using time-outs to discipline older children will likely fail as the child may refuse to cooperate. Dr Lim points out, “Any attempt by parents to manhandle their children can lead to injuries or even fights.”

 

“Its [role is] simply to take the child out of an overwhelming situation, away from a stimulus, so as not to further aggravate the behaviour.”

 

2) Make the most of this discipline method

Dr Lim points out that parents often use time-outs wrongly. “Its [role is] simply to take the child out of an overwhelming situation, away from a stimulus, so as not to further aggravate the behaviour.” A study done in the US last year found that parents explain too much when they impose time-outs to discipline.

So, follow these steps to ensure that you maximise the effectiveness of time-out sessions:

* Don’t give elaborate warnings — just explain briefly what they are doing wrong and warn them that if they continue, they will be sent to the time-out corner.

* Start the time-out right after your mini-me misbehaves.

* Don’t give explanations during the time-out and don’t negotiate with your child on the duration of their time-out.

* Make sure the time-out corner is free from fragile furniture or any stimuli that may distract or entertain him.

* Once he’s in the corner, tell him that you’ll be back later to check on him when he’s calmer, then walk away.

* The time-out should be as long as the time your child needs to be calm enough to talk to you.

* When the time-out is over, explain to your child why they received a time-out. Next, ask them if they understand why they got a time-out ― this will give them the opportunity to express themselves.