In recent years “timeouts” have become one of the most popular techniques of discipline. And though most people will agree that they are better than spanking, do they really work for everyone?
I believe that timeouts aren’t your best bet — particularly with small children. When kids are misbehaving or out of control, they need to be soothed by the calming influence of their parent (or caregiver). So is isolating the child in timeout, all on their own, the answer?
My kids are small. And though the terrible twos are certainly not always fun. We try to head off trouble before it begins. My son normally acts up when he’s tired or feels insecure. I know his personality well enough to know when trouble is coming. Therefore, I can usually anticipate the problem before any behavior gets out of hand.
And he knows that when he feels mad/sad/upset that he is supposed to come to my husband or I and ask for a hug. By reinforcing our love for him at a time when he’s not at his best, we bond and connect with him, rather than shunning him (like a timeout can).
Do you use timeouts? Do they work for you?
If you do use timeouts, I suggest you don’t leave a child in timeout session for longer than one minute per their year of age. So a three year old, shouldn’t have longer than a three-minute timeout. Believe me…three minutes is a long time when you are that young.