"Time Out" - Does It Really Work?

   By krystlbear  Apr 15, 2012

I'm a mom of a 5 year old boy. I'm constantly telling him "If you don't stop, you'll have to sit in time out". I never follow through with it though. Recently he has started acting out more and getting sad faces in school. 

I know, I know--I should follow through when I tell him things. I just don't want to be the "mean mommy". We take video games away from him, but that just doesn't seem to work. I need a way of punishing him.

I've read parently blogs where moms say that time out works for their kids, but I want to know from you. Does it REALLY work? How long do you put them in time out?  How do you get the children to understand that time out is a punishment?

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Luzecita by Luzecita | WESTMINSTER, CA
Apr 18, 2012

Follow through. Give one warning. Time works here in our home with our four year old and almost three year old. Try it. Stay as calm as possible. Designate a time out area. Use a timer. If you find that it doesn't work for your child, begin to take away his favorite toys as a consequence yo his disobedience. After time out make sure yo always tell your child that you love him and briefly explain why time out was given.

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Apr 17, 2012

Time out works for me. (Even on the cats.) Under 5 min, pending age. And consistency is the key. If you say it, you have to follow through, no matter how tired or inopportune. I also make sure to tell them I love them and please lets make good choices/decisions.

couponing4bmx by couponing4bmx | LAKEWOOD, CA
Apr 16, 2012

time out doesnt work to some kids and its up to the parents which one works for their child

noelrocs by noelrocs | LANCASTER, SC
Apr 16, 2012

It works for me. I didn't grow up with timeout... we got spanked. I wanted to try the timeout method with my own child and it's working. I have a little chair in front of the sink and I say, "Timeout!" and nothing else... no matter how much he cries or whatever, I just walk him over there and he sits down. He stays 1 minute for every year old that he is--4 minutes, now. Time doesn't start until he's sitting still and not yelling. The reason it works is because it gives structure and predictability to his life--no means no. It even works at other peoples's houses when we are away from home. I support time outs :) It's good for both of you to recollect, take a minute and reset.

bridgetem by bridgetem | SAINT CLAIR, MI
Apr 16, 2012

I use a combination of time outs and redirection. They both work very well for us. I tend to use time outs when the kids are out of control and completely not listening. It doesn't work too well for my 1 year old yet, but it does for my 4 year old. Also, if I am really getting mad, I tell her that I need a time out too, and she is really responsive to that. I do think the redirecting works really well though. You definitely have to tell them why they can't do something and give them something else to do instead. I do think that the main thing though is following through. If you constantly make idle threats and don't follow through, they will not listen to you. Period. I have found that as long as I don't lose my temper and I follow through with the consequences when they don't listen, there really isn't too much craziness, and they listen the next time.

Keziah1640 by Keziah1640 | WINSTON SALEM, NC
Apr 16, 2012

Being in the preschool profession, I would have to say that time out does not work for us. Not to put down the other responses because if it worked for them then that is good. I am only talking about that it does not work for us. The reason being is that it does not teach the child why he/she should not be doing that particular behavior they are not suppose to be doing. Children's behavior have to be redirected so that they learn about the dangers of certain behaviors. Children are naturally curious and if you constantly tell them "Stop" or Don't do this of that" they are going to continue to want to know why they have to stop or why can't I do this until their curiosity is satisfied. Just talk to him in a calm voice and explain to him why he can not do whatever he is not suppose to do and you will be surprised of the change in the behavior that he will exhibit.

AnEverydayJen by AnEverydayJen | WEST MIFFLIN, PA
Apr 16, 2012

You need to try not to focus on whether you are a 'mean' mommy or a 'nice' mommy. What it comes down to is you are the mom and there will be times you must correct bad behavior. Sometimes talking about it will work, other times you need to halt the behavior as it is happening with a time out. How well time outs work depends on how soon after the behavior they are implemented, how long the time out is, is a time out the appropriate response for the behavior and your child's general reaction to time outs. You have to be consistent regardless. I hope you are able to find a solution that works for you both!

krystlbear by krystlbear | GREEN CV SPGS, FL
Apr 15, 2012

Thanks for the tips ladies. I will definitely be keeping this in mind.

bikergirl76 by bikergirl76 | AUSTIN, TX
Apr 15, 2012

Time out works - if it is given immediately after the child breaks rules. When my son mis-behaves or breaks rules, he gets time out anywhere and everywhere. Kids quickly learn the cause and effect.

JessicaLD1 by JessicaLD1 | JACKSONVILLE, FL
Apr 15, 2012

Only have him do time out for 5 minutes. If he comes out of time out before the time is up put him back in it.

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Apr 15, 2012

I forgot, only do the time out, which is standing up (not sitting in a chair), hands behind the back, facing direct corner, for 1 min. per his age. If he plays around or turns around he gets a min. added on for each "offense". Out of 6 kids, 5 learned real quick they didn't want the corner. Each child is different also

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Apr 15, 2012

Crystal, problem #1 is the most important. Don't make idle threats because he picks up quickly and then runs with how far he can push your buttons. Since you didn't follow through, you now need to nip it in the bud now. My now 17 yr. old, as much as I love her, she was "hell on wheels" to put it mildly AND I disciplined her so I couldn't imagine how much worse it could have been. Do yourself and him a favor and start NOW (he will thank you when he becomes a parent), or you will be frustrated.