Do Time-Outs Actually Work With Toddlers

 

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Frequently discuss behavioral expectations with your child so that your toddler has a base understanding of right and wrong and consequences. Using a time-out without any prior discussions of what it means to a child may backfire on a parent. Positively remind your toddler of your expectations immediately prior to the activity.

Use time-outs sparingly. Overuse. Most experts recommend “time-ins” instead of time-outs as a discipline practice for kids, but the science doesn’t necessarily back that up. But do time-outs really work?

Experts say yes. “There is a significant amount of research demonstrating the effectiveness of time-outs however, this technique is also one of the most misused and misunderstood,” says Jill Fodstad, Ph.D., Clinical Director at Simon Skjodt Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University. When children in nurturing environments do something dangerous or defiant, the idea is to briefly take away positive reinforcement so that they learn to associate the good things the time-ins with good, safe behavior. Timeouts don’t work very well, then, if you haven’t created a richly positive environment for your child.

But any child can explain to you that timeouts ARE punishment, not any different than when you were made to stand in the corner as a child. And any time you punish a child, you make him feel worse about himself and you erode the parent-child relationship. So, not surprisingly, research shows that timeouts don’t necessarily improve behavior. At some point, we must accept that even though we all love our kids and want what’s best for them, parenting can’t be a strictly intuitive endeavor.

Sometimes we need to listen, really. Try to do what you would normally be doing when your child is in time-out, but stay close enough to know if your child is doing anything dangerous or tries to leave the time-out chair/spot. No one should give your child any attention while he is in time-out. Do not look at your child, do not talk to your child, and do not touch your child. That’s the reason traditional time-outs are not likely to work until sometime between your toddler’s second and third birthdays.

Watch for signs that he understands what’s acceptable and what’s not. One clue is if he reminds you of. Shu says a good stage to initiate timeouts is when your toddler is around age 2. Here are a few guidelines.

Do remove your child from the situation. Do. Do time-outs really work for children?It is not a long-term solution.But parents forget that and use it as an handy option to discipline kids.

List of related literature:

Time-outs also work best as a long-term strategy, which means introducing them can initially lead to an increase in children’s outbursts or temper tantrums.

“The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child's First Four Years” by Tara Haelle, Emily Willingham, Ph.D.
from The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years
by Tara Haelle, Emily Willingham, Ph.D.
Penguin Publishing Group, 2016

If not, continue to try different routines; your child might need more exposures to them to learn the pattern and what to expect.

“An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn” by Sally J. Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, Laurie A. Vismara
from An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn
by Sally J. Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, Laurie A. Vismara
Guilford Publications, 2012

Time-outs aren’t really about discipline, since they don’t teach anything.

“What to Expect: The Second Year” by Heidi Murkoff
from What to Expect: The Second Year
by Heidi Murkoff
Simon & Schuster UK, 2012

Time-outs are particularly effective when used to stop a behavior immediately, but they are less effective when you want the child to do something, like brush teeth.

“A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children” by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend
from A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children
by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend
Great Potential Press, 2007

Time-outs really do work, because they give a child the time to realize you are firm, and they are not going to get their way.

“Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair” by LuAnn de Lesseps
from Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair
by LuAnn de Lesseps
Penguin Publishing Group, 2009

I never use time out procedures for Lucas and have only used a true time out less than a handful of times for Spencer, my eight-year-old typically developing child.

“The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders” by Mary Lynch Barbera, Tracy Rasmussen
from The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders
by Mary Lynch Barbera, Tracy Rasmussen
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007

Starting at 18 months time-outs work well for managing temper tantrums.

“Maternal Child Nursing Care in Canada E-Book” by Shannon E. Perry, Marilyn J. Hockenberry, Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Lisa Keenan-Lindsay, David Wilson, Cheryl A. Sams
from Maternal Child Nursing Care in Canada E-Book
by Shannon E. Perry, Marilyn J. Hockenberry, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

When used consistently, time out has proven to be extremely effective in decreasing the problem behavior.

“Parent Management Training: Treatment for Oppositional, Aggressive, and Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents” by Alan E Kazdin
from Parent Management Training: Treatment for Oppositional, Aggressive, and Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents
by Alan E Kazdin
Oxford University Press, 2005

Time-outs are intended to provide an opportunity for both parents and children to calm down and change their behaviors, but it isn’t effective for children who do not have self-calming strategies.

“Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft Revised Edition” by Mary Hopkins-Best
from Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft Revised Edition
by Mary Hopkins-Best
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012

TIME-OUTS and counting 1-2-3 represent two specific parenting strategies that don’t work for fundamental reasons.

“If I Have to Tell You One More Time...: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Remindi ng, or Yelling” by Amy McCready
from If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Remindi ng, or Yelling
by Amy McCready
Penguin Publishing Group, 2011

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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  • I was spanked when I was little and I turned out good.
    ��������
    Jk I remember that I was scared of my mom and I would played that my dolls would hit their kids because it was so normal for me. But once I grew up I realized how dark my childhood was. I’m still getting educated on how to raise my kid.

  • Found you on TikTok! Love your approach, hoping it helps me parent more gently with my 3 year old cause I’m ready to pull my hair out and jump out off a cliff.