How Do Great Parents…Implement Time Outs

Time Out

(material provided by The Incredible Years, Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.)

  • Be polite.
  • Be prepared for testing.
  • Monitor anger in order to avoid exploding suddenly; give warnings.
  • Give 5-minute Time Outs with 2 minutes of silence at the end.
  • Carefully limit the number of behaviors for which Time Out is used and use consistently.
  • Use Time Out consistently for chosen behaviors.
  • Don’t threaten Time Out unless you’re prepared to follow through.
  • Ignore child while in Time Out.
  • Use nonviolent approaches such as loss of privileges as a back-up to Time Out.
  • Follow through with completing Time Out.
  • Hold children responsible for cleaning messes in Time Out.
  • Support a partner’s use of Time Out.
  • Don’t rely exclusively on Time Out — combine with other discipline techniques, such as logical consequences and problem solving.
  • Expect repeated learning trials.
  • Build up bank account with praise, love, and support.
  • Use personal Time Out to relax and refuel energy.
  • Use Time Out for destructive behaviors and times when you’re child’ misbehavior cannot be ignored.  Start by choosing just one behavior to work on.  When that behavior is no longer a problem, choose another behavior to work on.
  • Give immediate Time Out for hitting and destructive acts.  However, for noncompliance, one warning may be given.
  • Ignore inappropriate behaviors, such as screaming, whining, teasing, arguing, swearing, and tantrums.
  • Praise positive behavior as often as possible.

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