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The Importance of Time Outs

Updated on June 17, 2017

My two year old

Timeout is the single, most useful tool that I have as a parent of 2 toddlers. It is my solution to most bad behavior, and it works successfully most of the time. Timeout helps me to get control of a situation, as well as give me time to process what is going on without going off the handle.

I use timeout the most with my 2 year old. She is my oldest, and understands the concept. I have been practicing timeout with her for about one year, starting when she was 18 months. My 1 year old has yet to experience this particular adventure, as he has not done anything deliberately to deserve it. The determining factor of when to use timeout depends on the temperament, as well as the attitude of the parent. If the parent feels as though the child is deliberately not listening, or is doing the same behavior over and over and trying to make sure they are not going to be caught, it is a good idea to consider this form of discipline.

The key to making it successful was to be consistent. I always give a count to three, which is enough to stop the behavior. If I get to three, then the toddler know it is time for her to go to timeout, and will often walk over there by herself. If she doesn't, I give her another count, in which she will lose the privilege to walk over there. She likes to be independent, so when I pick her up to sit her down, she loses that independence and realizes that she has to face the discipline whether she wants to or not.

There are very few exceptions to this rule. I will automatically put her in timeout after I remind her once that it isn't nice to push her brother. In other words, she pushes her brother once, she gets a one. The second time, she gets a time out, no counting at all. I will make her sit there, then apologize to her brother for the push. This becomes consistent, and has decreased the amount of times she pushes her brother when I am there.

If I am not there, it is a different story, and she will test boundaries to see what she can get away with. It is important that anyone that gives care to your child knows the ground rules you have established. This helps to prevent rebellion, and whirlwind children. My toddler will still see what she can get away with, but when she finds out timeout still exists, she will usually behave.

Timeout is an incredibly effective tool to disciplining children. If used consistently, you are able to curb the bad behavior easily. It may take a little work, but with some follow through, you will be on your way to well behaved children.


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  • leahlefler profile image

    Leah Lefler 7 years ago from Western New York

    I had a good chuckle with this one: Timeout is a staple in our house! Our boys are 3 and 5, so we find it quite useful. My older boy now has other consequences (as in, repairing damage done to a broken toy or cleaning up after his tantrum). With time outs, natural consequences, and consistency, we have a calm household (most of the time, anyway)!

  • Truckstop Sally profile image

    Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

    Great hub! Parenting IS challenging. Timeout is good for the adult too. Gives him/her a moment to take a deep breath . . . count to 10 . . .