Have you tried this way of disciplining? If you haven’t, or you have but failed, here are a few pieces of advice for you to achieve success with these tactics.
Fix a convenient spot and time
Time-outs depend largely on your choice of a good area. The main requirements are that the spot be suitable for the purpose and can be monitored easily so that you can check whether the child is staying in the place and has no harm coming his way. You need to have a seat there, which can be a regular one like a chair or a small stool, but actually, any kind of affair will do – a step of a staircase, a mat, a folding seat. It would help if you gave the spot (or the seat) a special name reflecting the purpose of the place (“the quiet nook” or “sit-and-think chair”). The nook should be strategically placed out of the way of other kids, where there is no television, objects that could distract or used to annoy the parents. See it is devoid of toys and definitely a dull place.
Now that you know where the child will be left to ruminate upon his behavior, set a time that seems right to you. You can start with the number of minutes corresponding to the kid’s age: three minutes for a child of three, five – for a five-year-old, and so on. You may find that it is worth your while to increase the time to let the understanding sink in better – try to add half the time to the age-minute ratio and give six minutes to a kid who is four and eight minutes to one who is five. Set your smartphone to tell you when the time is through or use the kitchen timer for that purpose. Then, at first your child may get to be sent there many times per day. Naturally, you can do it as often as you deem necessary, but let your reason judge how often you resort to this method. After a while, the kid is supposed to understand that you’ve taken a firm stand, and regular time-outs will be decreasing in number, showing you that the measure is successful.
Get the child acquainted with the spot
To work better, the quiet nook needs to be introduced in advance. Choose a peaceful moment to take the kid to the spot and tell him that this place is specially designated as a remote place for him to go when he acts up, breaks important rules, or needs to stay quiet and control his emotions. Indicate about four-five offenses for which he will have to take a time-out, choosing violent instances of biting, kicking, hitting out or screaming, and tell him how long he is going to remain there sitting and pondering on his misbehavior. He is to stay there until the timer rings, when he may stand up and leave.
As soon as the child has broken one of the “naughty seat” rules, take him to the quiet nook at once without pausing to finish whatever you are doing at the moment (even if you are really busy and not just watching a movie). In order for time-outs to be at their most efficacious, they should be dealt out while the offending scene is in progress or has just come to an end. Little children’s memories are short-living, and they may lose the tie-up between the misbehavior and the punishment if the latter is delayed. It’s better to use time-outs outside your home as well, picking suitable remote places that can provide a break for the offending child – a bench in the street, an out-of-the-way corner in a store, a seat outside the car.
When your child is aggressive or agitated, a time-out will give him an opportunity to take his emotions well in hand – but you’ll have to see to it that you remain calm yourself. Sending your child away for a time-out, refrain from shouting at him, handling him roughly, issuing criticism or reproaches of any kind. Be short, firm and completely calm as you state the reason and the consequence. Your kid understands his misbehavior, so it will be quite enough to say just: “Bob, you are not to kick at people. Take your time-out.”
Maintain the tactics
Now your child knows that some particular offenses will result in his taking time-out, insist on the procedure every time without hesitation. If you begin to ignore it, he will instantly hit upon the idea that it is nothing serious, you are only threatening, and he can get out of time-out by dint of pleading or promising to behave. You need to maintain strict consistency. It may be hard work to keep younger children fixed on the spot, there are those who will stand up repeatedly and try to leave the quiet nook. Other kids will attempt to reposition the seat so they can watch what is going on. They will place the seat so as to enable themselves to look at the TV screen, wriggle out to reach for something they can amuse themselves with, call out to their siblings or even try to take part in what they are occupied by. All these have to be curbed. Either hold the child on the spot until the time-out is through, or return him to the nook and restart the alarm, repeating it as many times as he will try to leave. You ought to teach the child that it’s easier for him to sit out the designated period and return to his ordinary life instead of wasting time on attempts to escape the punishment.
Get on with your lives
As soon as the timer rings announcing that the time is through, discuss the event with your child briefly. See that he understands the reason for going away to the quiet nook. Let him express his attitude, and remind him curtly that he must go and take a time-out when he misbehaves or gets too rough and needs quieting down. Show that you appreciate him for staying through and release him to do whatever he wants or has to. Make sure he realizes that he is given a clean bill of behavior and can show that he can behave to everyone’s satisfaction.