When did you start putting your child in time-out?

As children start becoming aware of their actions, it's important to start setting boundaries and have a discipline strategy. When is a good time to start putting your child in timeouts?

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39  Answers

1 3

I started at the age of 2ish with my girls. It wasn't until they had their first real meltdown that I implemented the timeout. Smaller offenses only required a talk.

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2 4

Twins in time out from 18months. Just for a minute each time. But worked a treat. Young enough to "comply" and become a normal part of our discipline routine. At 4 now barely use it. Just the threat of it. Important to follow through and be consistent.

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5 4

A time-out is supposed to be exactly what the name implies; a break. To achieve optimal results you should use it as such. When a child becomes over stimulated and unable to cope with their surroundings they should be removed from the stimulating surroundings. It's initial use is not as a punishment, it's an escape.
If you mean to use it as a punishment you should call it something else like a tease because when it's used as a punishment you want them to know what they are missing and why they are missing it. You don't use it because they are angry to the point of tears, or to the point that they have already removed themselves from the group/game.
In my house my daughter has "breaks", where if we are downstairs she can go to her room, or she can go to the upstairs couch and just relax. We say the word time-out when she is unable to take herself to her spots. We almost never set a time limit because of how unhelpful that can be. The only time we use one is if she has to apologize to someone for a mean or rude action.
We never expect her to apologize because she is upset, and we always always explain to her while she is going to time-out and when she is leaving what she is apologizing for and why she has to say she is sorry. This helps her take her focus off herself and reflect on the impact her actions had on those around her and this helps her go from angry and frustrated to remorseful and a little embarrassed.
I think beside the obvious awesome and helpful impacts this system the fact that this is how most schools use time-outs as well. They differentiate between a break and a punishment by having in class time-outs so they are blatantly left out and they see what they are missing and they are publicly embarrassed and out of class time-outs where the students need to get away from the class. Having some common ground with school makes the transition easier for the child and as a parent you don't have to try and change the system that you have spent 3-4 years creating that you felt worked so that it doesn't go against the schools stance and confuse the child.
Oh I guess I should mention my daughter is 3, but we have been using this system since she was old enough to understand that her actions impacted others, so between 18 months and 2 years old. I think it's different for each child, but when they get to an age where they suddenly seem frustrated all the time because they unable to communicate everything that they would like to is a good time to start. This will help keep both you and your child from becoming incredibly frustrated at each others lack of understanding and it will help develop those communication skills because when the child is calm they are better able to think of how to display the message they are trying to get through to you.
Sorry, I know this was long winded but I recently graduated from a special needs educational assistant course and this was a widely debated topic that I apparently am very opinionated about it.
I hope this helps!

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10 52

From about 18 months. My son had terrible two's EARLY!

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13 40

12-18 months

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1 171

Around the late months of age 2.

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2 54

I started puttin Dj in time-out at 18months, he was such an advance baby he did everything within that time frame (talking, potty training, etc so he understood exactly what he was doing.

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2 2

I've found that time outs aren't really necessary. Kids tend to comply with any kind of consistent adult intervention. I use redirection most of the time. That said if you do choose to use time outs (I understand that not everyone is into my mushy gushy parenting techniques lol) I would imagine that the earlier you make it a regular part of the routine the more likely that you are to gaIn compliance with the procedure. There will always be times when kids just will not comply. Usually, I've found, when they are pretty sure they are in the right or they feel they have somehow been wronged. Kids have a really strong sense of injustice when they witness it in their own lives. It'll be a few years before they are able to apply that knowledge to other people as well but that's a whole other topic. :)

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2 2

II also want to point out that kids are pretty damn resilient. I really think that many of these issues that parents get stuck in today are non issues in the grand scheme of things. There's more than one way to raise a child. The needs and desires of everery parent, child and family are different. The most important thing, I think, is just being loving and compassionate. Parents can make a lot of mistakes and kidsds can bounce back virtually unharmed if if the overall atmosphere is a loving one. I have no desire to live in a world where parents are afraid to parent or worse made to feel like someone else would be better at it (ie a daycare or school). I also don't want to live in a world where kids think they are victims of bad parenting every time they get yelled at or their parent refuses to buy them that toy they want or let them stay at the park an extra 10 minutes. We are headed into dangerous territory with all this true belief that there is one correct way to be a parent.

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2 12

I have never put my kids in time out, as I don't believe it works. I just threaten them with going upstairs in their beds and they seems to do the trick.

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0 20

I really do not believe in the concept of timeout. Especially for toddlers (2-4 years old), it does not work and it makes no sense. When setting boundaries for toddlers it is important, as parents, that we watch over them as they exert their new found independence. Blaming a child's frustrations on the "terrible two's" is a lame excuse and cannot be further from the truth. I am a parent and a preschool teacher, when problems arise redirect the toddlers attention, or if the child is older than five years, I would ask the child/children about the situation. As they get older it is better to ask them what was going on and explain what is exceptable and what is not. That way a child's spirit is not broken.

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1 21

Sitting your child down and having them calm down for a moment, or until they stop screaming is what I call a time-out, the idea that this will "break their spirit" is rediculous. It offers your child time to calm down so they can learn to control their emotions and therefore their behavior. Time-out is often misused or overused, but the concept when applied correctly is beneficial as it teaches the child self control.

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0 16

I just started and it is not easy with my 3 yr old son.

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0 0

We started around 18 months for both my kids. But, I did not expect them at that age to actually sit in timeout. We have our timeout spot upstairs, and at 18 months, after giving them a couple warnings, if they still did not listen, we would remove them from the situation and put them upstairs. By the time they get down the stairs, we did not put them back at that age. It was enough for them to know what they did was wrong and remove them from the situation. As they get older, you can start putting them back into time out. We use the nanny method for time....# of minutes in time out is equal to their age, although, we probably did 2 minutes closer to 2 and half. My oldest is 6, and starting at the age of 4 I think it was, we rarely had to use timeout anymore. The threat alone does it for her. Just be consistent and follow through with your methods!

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616 0

I think it varies with each child on how they are developing. If you think they understand whats going on then you should start it, mine is 19 months and he doesnt understand it, it does no good for him at this point, but Im just still going to be firm and consistent until I know hes fully understanding

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0 20

I felt guilty for a long time b/c other parents seemed to be doing time outs waaaay earlier than I was. I was assured by one of the staff at my community's Children's Center that many kids are not ready for time out until they are at least 3 years old. My son was receiving Early Intervention Services at the time & we were still trying to "figure things out" -but I knew in my gut that he didn't "get" time outs. If I wanted him in time out at 3, I had to physically restrain him. It was horrible. Redirection, distraction, etc. -the things that you do with a much younger child worked with him. Around age 3 1/2 my son's ability to listen, follow directions, answer simple questions, and finally engage in simple conversations just started to emerge & it was at that time that he could handle a couple of minutes of time out without us having to hold him down & it worked better when we called it "taking a break" b/c that's what it really is for him. We often followed up Time Out with some simple techniques his occupational therapist taught us to help him to be more calm & regulated. By age 4 -he could have time out in his room or a park or wherever. 1-2-3 Magic works really well for him & us. Time outs really are less a punishment and more a break -a Time out -from the bad behavior, whining, craziness that is happening at the time. After 4 minutes in his room, my son is like a new kid. It's absolutely amazing -but he really had to be developmentally ready - I can not emphasize that enough. What works like a charm at 4, for him, was an absolute struggle & nightmare at 2 or 3. We got there eventually -just in our own time.

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46 15

it all depends on what type of "trouble" they got themselves into. i didnt start punishing my kids with a time out until after they turned 1 year,that way i knw they would understand that they did something wrong & it has consequences.

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7 72

Both of my boys began time-outs before they were walking, probably around 10 months or so. That may seem young to some of you, but all we did was remove them from the situation and sit them in a quiet spot by themselves for about a minute. It was very handy in enforcing that their behavior was not okay. Now, at 2 and 3, we are still using time-outs to reinforce that the behavior is unacceptable. Now they are either sent to another room (the bathroom) where they must stay until they are done throwing a fit, or (and my least favorite approach) they are put in the corner. In either instance, neither one of them ends up using the full 2-3 minutes of their time. They both know to calm themselves, regroup, and then come find the adult in charge to discuss why they were removed from the situation. It's gotten to the point that, at times, if one makes an improper decision, they put THEMSELVES in time out! There is nothing more amusing than watching a 3 year old walk himself to the bathroom and shutting the door, or a two year old walking over and standing in the corner. I firmly believe that if we had not started this at such an early age, it would not be so effective now.

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55 0

i started around 18 months with my 1st and I have been sending my 16 month old to the corner now for a couple months he doesnt stay there but he goes over to the corner and knows it means he was bad

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5 20

from the age of 2 years

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5 7

I started with my son pretty young....we had a lil bench right in the main room of our home.... but I sat with him, and we just counted until he calmed himself.... was no minimum time... we ususally just counted to 10 & he would take a deep breath & over it... he was never very prone to fits... even thru his 2-3's.... he is 6 now, and still takes breaks, now in his room, just til he takes a breath and calms himself if he is upset.... ready to say sorry & move on.... think it really helped him develop the skill of controlling his moods, temper etc.... & I was so lucky to be able to say he has never thrown any public fits.... very calm lil boy....with good mood calming skills
also used some yoga breathing techniques with time outs....
yoga breathing techniques to settle down at bed time etc... yoga has been a huge tool in my house for raising a calm healthy happy lil boy

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9 0

I started putting mine in timeout when he was around the age of 2 because believe it or not they know they are very smart.. If you notice or not the test you and when they start testing you thats when its time to put your foot down.

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20 14

I have 3 year old boy/girl twins - I have recently started using time out with my daughter as she knows exactly when she has done wrong and knows how to push our buttons. She has also become very cheeky and answers back a lot so time out works really well for her - she doesn't like it and gets upset but it definately calms her down and once time-out is finished she always apologises sincerely. Her twin brother however, is currently undergoing assessments to see if he is on the Autistic Spectrum and we don't use time out with him. He would have absolutely no idea what the punishment was for. He is non-verbal and has very little understanding of what we say to him so I feel that time out in his case would be futile, and would probably cause him to have a complete meltdown. So I definately think that it is a very personal choice and totally dependent on the maturity of the child if that makes sense x

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9 6

With my girls they started around 18 months. But I believe it really depends on the child. If they know what they are doing they are old enough for time out. Just make sure when there time is up you explain to them why they were there and what they can to next time. It is a strategy used to understand that we are responsible for what we do. If you don't teach your children that they can't do whatever they please they will grow up thinking everything revolves around them and have a hard time in the job force. I know a vast majority of us grew up with time outs and even spankings. I know from personal experience it did not "break my spirit" as some people like to say. It helped me learn right from wrong. The reason we have such chaos in our society today is people don't reprimand they're children. They they run around wild and free and get into trouble because they don't know right from wrong. Hence all the felons in our world today.

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14 41

I have three boys! 3,2 and 2! I started TO about a yr ago and its amazing! Everyone serves a minute per age! 3yo means 3 min TO! My 2yos sit on someones lap and can chatter but my 3 yo sits alone! My 6yo niece has to sit STILL and no TALKING! They all no mommy means business and you cant get a get out of jail free card lol! I did the crime now serve your time haha! My niece actually says Im mean but that bc her nana and mother let her get away with everything haha!

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3 0

i used timeouts around 2-3 years old. i feel any younger they dont really understand the concept of time out. I use it as punishment because it often takes them away from other fun stuff they are doing and they have to think about why they are in timeout and why it sucks.mine are 7 and 5 and 4 and 3 and it works great yet, they dont like it so usually a warning is enough to stop the trouble!

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5 31

18 months

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44 12

well I dont believe in spanking. But i do believe in timeouts.. My son is now 3 and we just started timeouts and its terrible. He is at the age where he knows he has a choice so its very hard to give him a timeout or have him stop with negative behavior like hitting etc. I wish I had started timeouts sooner. My daughter just started at 2 and it really helps her so I wish my son had started at the same time.. I think 12-18 mths is a bit young as they dont really understand and can do with explaining that its not ok behaviour etc but at 2 I think they should have timeouts. Not crazy long timeouts bur 1-2 mins of calm time. If you wait too long you will be like me and have your 3 year old running around like he is the boss and having a real issue getting him to have time out >> you dont want this its hard on not only you but them aswell because they have a hard time understand the change.

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5 16

I say around two and a half or around the time you start potty training them. If they can understand how to use the potty then they can learn right from wrong, which mean they are ready for time-outs. i have a four and five year old. They both get time-outs. I give them amount of minutes in time out according to their age the; the four year old gets 4 minutes and the five year old gets 5 minutes.

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48 42

I think it depends on the child. My boys were, all, really active toddlers. They didn't listen, too well, when we told them 'no.' So, we started putting them in time-out, with an explanation of why before and after the punishment, around 18 months. My daughter tends to listen a little better. She has just started to ignore us when we tell her she can't do something (asserting her independence a little later than her brothers...lol). She is just under 2 1/2 years old. I am, just now, starting to put her in time-out.

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8 26

Just like it says....When a child becomes aware of thier actions, s the BEST time to use "time-Out". So it all depends on the child. But Oh Yeah!...NEVER too ealry to "NIP" discipline in the Bud

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8 27

He was less than a year old. May have been around 5 months. I would sit him on my lap for a minute and tell him it was calm down time or that he needed a break. He did not like to me held in my lap so after a while he started doing what we said the first time. He is two now and usually does what he is suppose to without being told. He also knows what no means. If he does something wrong, i.e. throwing his trains, we take away the trains for a while. He might pitch a fit for a couple minutes but we hold strong and he gets that he should act nicely. We are very lucky to have a child that has a good attitude and learns quickly.

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44 12

idk how any mother could give their 5 mth old a timeout... seriously I have to laugh at this sense they do not understand at all what they are doing >> even if ur kid is super advanced there isnt a chance in hell they could understand. they are just learning and if they are screeching its because they have found their voice and are learning to use it.. if anything you will harm his developement but implementing punishments this early. give your head a shake.

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1 10

We started my son with time outs at around 18 months when he would throw screaming fits on the floor. It broke him quickly and he never did it in public. Thank goodness. We later added other offenses for not listening to instruction, etc later as he got older. He is now almost 4 and I rarely send him. He will get frustrated sometimes with his 17 month old sister and go sit in there by himself on his own. He knows it is his quiet place for reflection. I have always told him he is a good boy, but even good boys can make bad decisions and I have always ended with a kiss and a hug. I feel he knows it is a positive place to help him take a deep breath. I have just started with my daughter, again when the full, on the floor, kicking arms and legs, temper tantrums started. Her spot is in a different place and that will be her quiet place. We will do the same for her and hope it has a positive effect, though each child can be different....so we are prepared to be flexible. So far so good. Heck, me and my husband have our quiet place...the bathroom! ha!

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1 4

I started to put my children in time out with they were around 2 years old and it has worked out well

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1 3

I've been putting my daughter in time-out since she was two. What that means is I talk with her about her actions and then she sits down on a chair, or stands by the wall until she calms down and is ready to appologize. I let her determine how long she needs to settle down and think about her actions. Since she has always been a very vocal and talkative child since early on it was fairly easy to get the concept across to her.

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0 8

I started when my Daughter was 2.

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0 7

About 2 and a half. I would have my daughter stand in the conner for 2 minutes. That is a really long time for a two year old.

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1 16

As soon as my child began to realize that he/she was doing something wrong. I think when your children look at you when you tell them no and do it again, they start to realize what the word "no" means. They are beginning to test their limit with you then, and I think if you start younger with the time outs, they realize at a younger age their boundaries and how much you as a parent will put up with! I know it is a horrible feeling to hear your child cry for you when they are in a time out, but it is so much better than them doing something they shouldn't be doing and getting hurt!

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79 18

I started when my son was 2

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15 83

as soon as they become aware of what they r doing. i have had boundaries still they were little.

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15 83

i started it when they where 2yrs old.

0 20

I believe it was @ 2

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