I’m a timeout mom. Granted, I’m still new at this discipline thing.
My twins are 22 months. People told me timeout wouldn’t work, that they were too young to understand. That a quick pop on the rear end would yield better results.
I’ll tell you this: The hiney hitters out there are really underestimating their young children’s ability to comprehend.
We’ve had very good results at my house using the timeout technique used by TV’s Supernanny, Jo Frost.
Here’s how we do the timeout technique:
1. The child gets one verbal warning in a stern but not angry voice. (“Stop throwing toys or you’re going into timeout.”)
2. If child continues the behavior after the warning, she is placed into “timeout” — which can be anywhere: a chair, a corner, a rug, a step.
3. The parent bends down to the child’s level and sternly explains eye-to-eye why she is in timeout. (“You are in timeout for throwing toys when mommy told you not to.”) Then the parent walks away, and the child remains in timeout for 1 minute for each year of their age. (So my kiddos get 2 minutes in timeout. A 6-year-old would get 6 minutes.)
4. If the child leaves the timeout spot before the time is up, the parent returns the child to the spot without speaking to her. This is repeated until the child stays put. The timeout time-limit starts over each time you return the child. (If you watch the show, you’ll see some parents are wrangling their kids for more than an hour before they stay put. I contend that if you start young, you won’t have this problem. But only time will tell for me and my family.)
5. After the child has completed the timeout, the parent bends over to the child’s level and explains again why the child was put into time out. The child is asked to apologize. Then it’s time for hugs and kisses.
The keys to making the technique work:
DO NOT talk to your child while she is is timeout. This is not a negotiation. What you say goes.
DO NOT scream or berate. Explain yourself and then step away. I also think of it as a timeout for me — so I don’t lose my cool and my temper.
DO praise your child for good behavior when you see it. This is still the best way to discourage bad behavior.
— By Kim Hays, OrlandoSentinel.com/momsatwork