How to Do a Time Out

Is your child being naughty? Do you know what to do? If not this can be helpful if your tired of your child being naughty.


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    Make sure they know why they're being punished. Punishing a child in any way without them knowing why they're being punished will be ineffective. Regardless even if you think they know why they're punished, they should be told anyway.
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    Consider their age. Generally, time outs are not effective on children younger than the age of three or older than the age of ten.
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    Send them to a place with little distraction. For most parents, this is either the child's room or standing (or sitting on a chair) facing a corner. A time out isn't effective if there's a distraction - such watching television or toys - because that is just moving the child to a different activity not a time out.
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    Don't leave them very scared. The purpose of a time out isn't to scare the living daylights out of your kids, put them in any potential danger or humiliate them publicly. Consider the appropriateness of when and where you give a time out. For example, places with extremely cold temperatures (like a walk-in freezer) and most public places are not good locations for a time out.
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    Check on them. That doesn't mean check on them excessively or watch them throughout the entire duration of the time out, but do check on them regularly enough so that they can't start playing with toys or engage in another distracting activity during their time out.
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    Remove any toys. Some children may try to sneak toys and play with them during their time out. Don't allow this to happen.
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    After the punishment... Many parents hug their kids after a time out and remind them that they love them. Explain why they are punished again and tell them what appropriate behavior would have been. If they seem very angry (with you or with others), react violently, or engage in whatever initially got them in a time out shortly after the first one consider giving them another (possibly longer) time out.


  • If whatever you're thinking of doing is illegal, then it is illegal for a reason, so under no circumstances go through with it.
  • If there's one or more other children playing in the same room as the child in the time out, it would be a good idea to put the child in the time out in another room or somehow separate them. If for whatever reason you can't separate them then remind the other children not to engage with the child in the time out.
  • Never threaten a child.
  • Make sure the time ours are reasonable. Having a one minute time out won't be effective and making it too long will complicate punishment later down the road.
  • If a child doesn't understand what he did wrong or asks question answer them or he still may not understand and repeat the negative behavior.
  • If they attempt to or actually leave the time out while it's still in progress a good tactic is to lengthen the amount of time or every time they attempt to escape.

Things You'll Need

  • A Private Room
  • Chair/Bed
  • Bottled water (particularly if the time out is longer than five minutes)
  • Door
  • Special Chair
  • Child

Article Info

Categories: Behavioral Issues | Parenting