Is a Time-Out An Effective Way to Discipline?

Parents need to try out different ways of disciplining their children. It will take them many hits and more misses to arrive at a method that works best fit their child.. For discipline or punishment, they need to understand what they did wrong and why they have been punished so that they refrain from doing the same thing again, and not find ways to hide something from you in fear of your reaction.

A “Time-Out” has been found to be an effective way to discipline kids in the right way. Many parents, doctors, and experts favour this as it reduces the chances of violent behaviour. However, this is effective between the age group of 18 months to 10 years – mostly when kids begin to get independent and form their own opinions about everything.

When Is Time-Out Effective?

Time-out basically means a time-out from attention or distancing them from something because they did something wrong. Time-out can be used when:

  • They exhibit inappropriate behavior
  • They harm someone or something
  • They don’t follow instructions or do something forbidden
  • They repeat the same mistake and ignore your warnings

What To Do In Time-Out?

During time-out, you can make them sit on a chair in a corner of the room, away from the TV, games and toys. No one is allowed to talk to them or they are also not allowed to talk. You can specify a time period for which they have to remain like this. Ask them not to leave till they are told to. You also need to clarify the reason for the time-out. Do not respond to them during the time out. Have the time out in a place where you can keep an eye on them. Warn them ahead of time about an impending time-out. Explain to them about what could have prevented a time-out. Bedrooms for time-outs should be avoided because children will find a way to enjoy the punishment which is counter-productive.

Do not scold or beat them or put them in any dark room alone. The idea is not to create fear, but to make a child think about mistakes and consequences. Ration out this punishment. Too much of it and a child will not take it seriously. Also, make sure that there are no breakable things nearby as kids tend to get agitated and break things. Make sure they are not able to harm themselves during time-out.

For proper discipline, time-in is equally important as time-out. If you are using time-out to punish them for an inappropriate behavior, you also need to praise and appreciate them, when you see good behavior. This way they feel that they are being acknowledged and don’t get mean-spirited about time-outs. Making them think about what they are doing wrong is the best way to impart life lessons and creating a clear moral compass.