Time Outs: How to Make Them a Positive Strategy

By September 28, 2016Parkland Players

This is the second and final post in a pair of posts on time outs. In the previous posts we discussed why time outs might be less than effective as strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour. Here we will go over some ways to adjust the time out, or as the article we are sourcing from suggests, convert them into a “time-in”.

In order to help children see time-outs as an opportunity to process emotions, their behaviours and how to carry out restitution, consider giving the a “child-directed time-in” in the following way:

Here are the 5 Ws of a child-directed time-in

  • WHEN: consider allowing the child to decide when they are prepared to re-enter a group situation that was previously too emotional. Ask them to remove themselves and tell them to come back when the feel they have calmed down
  • WHY: keep in mind that this strategy should be used as a way to teach your child to calm down and regulate their emotions in a constructive way, not as a punishment.
  • WHERE/WHAT: allow children to choose the location of their time-in, as long as it is away from the situation that was causing escalating behaviour
  • WHO: know whether your child will need support in the time in (by having someone to talk to right away) or if your child’s time in is better spent independently
  • HOW: be sure to explain to your child the purpose of the time in. Also, allow them to help create the criteria for the time in

Lastly, allow the time-in to give you an opportunity to get your emotions together as well if necessary. When both parties are calm it will be easier to return to the situation that was the source of the problem and discuss what was going on, how to fix it and avoid it for next time.

Source: http://parentsmatter.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=600 Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs