Creative Discipline: A Gentle Approach to Time-Out
Have you tried to put your toddler into time out, but nothing seems to work? I struggled to keep Jolene in time out without feeling the guilt of locking her in her room.
I managed to come up with a perfect Creative Discipline approach to time-out that takes away the blame & keeps up with my gentle parenting approach.
During a time out, Jolene does go to her room & she can’t come out – but I don’t feel the guilt I used to & I’ll tell you why.
Positive Parenting Time Out
If you’ve read any gentle parenting articles or books, you’ll likely hear the term time-in instead of time-out.
The biggest difference between the two is that in the gentle parenting approach you are supposed to stay with your child the entire time-in.
I don’t do this.
My positive parenting time out is more like “taking a break” than time out or time in. It’s a much more gentle approach than the sit in a corner, take everything away technique we are used to hearing about.
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The Family Meeting
Your child needs to know what you are doing & why you are doing it. A young child won’t sit long so a quick 5-minute meeting to go over the rules will work.
Tell your child that if they want to be with everyone in the living room they’ll need to follow the house rules. If they can’t follow the rules, they’ll be asked to go to their room for a break until they can.
End the meeting by asking your child if they want to add anything to the meeting. Jolene looked at me like I was crazy, and didn’t say anything.
It’s important to let your kids know that they have a say in the meetings as well. One day, I’m sure she’ll come up with something awesome to add.
Here are the rules I went over for guidance:
- No Screaming – She’s been screaming at the top of her lungs!
- When I say no, I mean no (no begging)
- We eat at certain times throughout the day, not all day long.
- No Hitting – Jolene has been hitting lately.
- We also went over quiet time & bedtime routines (quickly).
Setting up for the Routine
There are a few items that I use that make this routine so much easier.
- Nest Camera to watch Jolene in her room.
- TV to play the time out timer or you could play it on an Amazon Alexa Device.
- iPad to help refocus.
- Door Monkeys so she can not come out of her room until the time is up.
- Youtube to choose the timer or song that will play & a way to control your TV or Alexa from your phone. You could use a fire stick for this.
I kind wish I had grabbed this TV (& I still might!)
Your objective is just to get your child to stop doing whatever they were doing to earn the time out. It’s not to punish them. We are redirecting them.
The Creative Discipline Parenting Routine
First of all, time out takes place in the child’s bedroom. Make sure it’s a safe place.
When Jolene breaks a rule or I’ve counted to three (using Magic 1-2-3) I let her know that she’ll be going to time out.
I don’t yell at her or make her feel bad, I simply tell her that she broke a rule & needs to take a break in her room.
Sometimes, she goes on her own & other times I have to pick her up and take her (& sometimes this involves yelling, kicking, and even hitting).
One way or another, you need to be able to get your child to time out.
Here’s the thing – once your child is in their room they are free to do whatever they want, in their room.
The idea is that you are redirecting the behavior & allowing your child to figure out how they want to handle the situation.
I’ve found a 4-minute timer with kids music & a rainbow to play on Jolene’s TV. After it’s over, I’ve qued up a random youtube video to start playing.
She will call me once it’s over & tell me she wants to come out. Keep in mind, I’m watching her the entire time with the Nest Camera.
After Time Out
Do not talk to your child after time out about what happened before.
When you let your child out, it’s a clean slate, let them know that you missed them & move on with your day!
It’s so common to continue to scold your child after time out, “Now honey, why did you go to time out? What will you do next time?”
This is a bad idea, the consequence has been given it’s time to move on.
Most likely, your child doesn’t even remember why they were put in time out – there’s no need to question them & bring it back up.
My Child Refuses to go to Timeout
When you first implement this routine, your child will most likely refuse to go to timeout. You’ll need to get them there somehow.
When Jolene doesn’t want to go, I pick her up and take her. It’s not an optional consequence. Once you say timeout, it needs to happen.
Eventually, your child will realize that the running, screaming, and (maybe) hitting isn’t going to keep him out of timeout & it will start to decline.
When your child refuses to go to timeout remind them that if they can’t follow the household rules, they’ll need to spend some time in their room until they can.
Locking child in Room for Timeout
I’m not here to argue if it’s inappropriate to lock your child in their room or not. I use a door monkey & therefore technically, Jolene is locked in her room during a timeout.
The door doesn’t completely close, I can hear her & see her. I also use a nest camera to watch her for her safety.
I would feel guilty holding the door closed & I don’t have time to pick her up and put her back in every time she comes out.
Jolene doesn’t even try to come out anymore – so Mamma, don’t feel guilty about this.
How long should my child be in their room?
Typically, you will do one minute per year of life. Since Jolene is 4, I find a 4-minute timer. I have had her stay in there for 5 minutes in the past though.
Sometimes, she won’t stop yelling for 4 minutes – so I have to extend the time.
Honestly, I use Amazon Alexa for so much in my house. For some reason, it helps set up a routine & Jolene seems to like her schedule being announced.
I’m terrible with checking the time & sticking to a schedule, so Alexa does this for me. I love technology.
It makes my life a whole lot easier & I don’t have to continuously check the time.
I’m a teacher & at home right now until school starts again (which I hope happens!) – but until then, this routine gets me through the day!
All you stay at home, Mammas have my respect! I want to go back to work. I love my child, but man is your child this needy?
Do you have a time-out parenting routine?
I’ve connected with some amazing bloggers to share their best tips with you! Head over to check out their posts!
Cheyenne | Baby Bumps & Mom Buns
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Demetria | Creative Mom Society
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Ashley | Fairley Simple
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