Timeouts are an invaluable tool that all parents use at some point in their life. It’s the right balance of discipline that doesn’t involve cruelty. Like all things, however, you need to weigh whether a time out is right for that particular instance. Sometimes you need a different tool. Here are some alternatives to timeouts you might find helpful.
Loss of Privileges
At a certain age, kids begin to understand that the timeout is temporary. They start to gamble that the boredom of the timeout is worth the risk to behave however they prefer. In this case, identify what they like doing the most and take it away if your child misbehaves. You don’t have to be cruel about it, however.
For example, if your son loves reading before bed and usually insists on three to four books, remove one from the pile each time he misbehaves during the day. Only read what’s left at night. This will give him a tangible way to see how his behavior has affected him. Eventually all you’ll need to do is warn that a loss of privilege may occur.
If you’re proactive and thorough, often positive reinforcement can overcome your need to discipline through other methods. If you clearly make your child aware of the types of behaviors you expect and lather on praise when those behaviors occur, your child will seek those behaviors out to please you. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
When it comes to positive reinforcement, remember to praise the behavior, not the child. For example, instead of saying “You’re so kind Jenny,” say “I’m so happy that you shared your toy.”
The comfort corner is a tactic used for kids who are just learning to modulate their behaviors for various situations. A younger child (two to three years old) is still capable of becoming overwhelmed, even in situations to which is he familiar. In this case, a time out wouldn’t be effective because the child isn’t misbehaving, he’s struggling with internally.
A comfort corner is a space away from chaos and commotion of other people and children where your child can relax and regroup. Whisk your child to a quit place with plenty of comforting items that are known to calm him down.
You’ve probably been in a situation before where your child is so angry, sad, excited, or frustrated that no amount of reasoning and guidance will help. No matter what you say, you won’t be getting through with your words. In these instances, sometimes the best solution is simple redirection.
Redirection means turning your child’s energy elsewhere until the emotions are under control again. For example, if your child is hitting other children out of frustrating, take him by the hand and go for a walk. Remove him entirely from the situation. After a few moments he will have had regained control and you can talk it out.
Redirection only really works if your child is old enough to understand his previous behavior, whereas at young ages you need to discipline immediately for it to have an effect.
Written by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban
As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!
Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.
We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.
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