How long should a two year old be in timeout?

Elise - posted on 10/05/2011 ( 60 moms have responded )

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My recently turned two year old threw rocks at her teacher. She was not being mean only playing. The teacher first told me she was put in time out for 45 min then when she noticed how upset I was, told me she was exaggerating and it was really 20 min. I believe that twenty min for a two year old is way two long...I also used to be friends with the teacher so she will act different towards me (more laid back) I guess because she thinks I won't mind. I am extremely upset am I over reacting?

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[deleted account]

First of all... if the kid wasn't doing it to be mean... all the teacher should've done is told her to stop... and only use time out if the child didn't listen.

Second... time out for a 2 year old is 2 minutes.

I'd be pulling my kid from this class immediately.

Sarah - posted on 10/28/2011

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because my dad put me in time out when i was 7-8 for 1 hr. and trust me i did not learn in fact that just made me rebel more! vote encouraging if you agree!!!

Allie - posted on 10/25/2011

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One minute per year old, period. Any more than five would be too much for a 2 year old in my opinion. That's ridiculous. I would say something to her and the director of the school.

Kellie - posted on 10/09/2011

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That is way too long for a two year old. A minute per year of age is what the rule of thumb is....I understand that throwing rocks is a big deal, but she should have discussed it with you before making a 20 or 45 minute time out over it. Hang in there....

[deleted account]

Diane... she's a single mom who has to work. Should her 2 year old be left to roam the streets instead? ;)

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60 Comments

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Ashley - posted on 11/11/2011

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Elise I am very happy that your problem was solved quickly with the removal of your daughter to a class that the teacher wouldn't be so lax with you. I am grateful to be on very friendly terms with my sons teacher but I know she would never joke about punishing a child because that is unprofessional no matter how mush we can joke about other things.

Janine - posted on 11/11/2011

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I am a big believer in "Supernanny's" rule. You leave a child in time out for one minute of their age (in your case it would be 2 minutes). If they get of the chair or carry on, you start the time over again until they remain calm in the one spot for the entire 2 minutes. When done, you explain why the child got in trouble and make them understand what they did was wrong. Make them apologize for their actions and then let them know that you accept their apology. It truly does work! No young child likes to sit still for any period of time. Consistancy is also the key here but of course not for every minor issue. Communication with your child is another key. 45 minutes is way to excessive for a young child and even 20 minutes, however the stradegy I have given you may take up to 30mins in total when you first start out.. children are smart though and will eventually clue on. I am assuming your child was just ignored and not even talked to within the time she was being made to take this ridiculous time out and again, no child wants to be ignored either.. They need boundries and discipline but it needs to come from respectful, loving nature and not out of anger. Hope this helps good luck x

Jennifer - posted on 11/05/2011

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No you absolutely are not. Time out is based on age. If a child is 2, it's 2 min, if they are 5, it's five min. I would not put up with that from anyone for a two year old. They have no right to do that, and I doubt a child that young threw the rock that hard..While it was bad behavior, the child is 2, and thats what small children do, push the limits. I would be upset too. Do they have a written discipline policy where she goes, if so you should make sure you know it all and if you don't agree, either work something out with the director or move her to a more appropriate place. That is ridiculous!

[deleted account]

I was thinking maybe a minute? Also, there is a website/podcast that I really enjoy if you are interested. It's the 30-minute mom podcast. I will see if I can locate the website and links...I have a boy under 5 and I really get some good information here. And quickly!

http://webtalkradio.net/2011/08/08/30-mi...

Alleah - posted on 11/03/2011

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20 minutes is INSANELY long!!! Generally the rule of thumb is one minute per year old. My two year old gets 2 or 3 minute time outs. I've left her in there for up to ten minutes before, but that was to calm myself down enough to deal with her! :P Your caregiver has some serious issues if she thinks twenty minutes is an appropriate length of time for a time out, and if I were you I would think seriously about getting your child AWAY from that environment.

Lana - posted on 11/03/2011

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I dont know how the teacher timed the time out but alot depends for me on the child concerned for my 5yo it is 5 minutes from the time she stays in time out quietly which can sometimes be several hours. for my 3yo with ASD I usually make it about a 1-2 minutes of staying quietly in time out which he usually does straight away. with the 3yo we are slowly increasing the time so that it will be a minute /year that he is in time out which is what is generally accepted practice. But most people teaching time out techniques say that the child must stay in designated time out area quietly for that time and time is reset every time they leave the area or start shouting or yelling. Hope this of help to you

Marquita - posted on 11/02/2011

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Hello Elise
I see that plenty of moms have responded but I had to throw in my 2 cents. I do not think that you were overreacting by being upset. I really want to know why there is a timeout in place for a 2-yr old. I am no expert but kids that age seem to young to realistically be able to sit in timeout and think about what they have done+ plus be able to fix it. The only timeout that would really make sense for a kid that age is an attention timeout meaning that they do not get the caregiver's attention until they calm themselves down. Kids crave attention so I could see that being more effective then making them sit in a chair or stand in the corner.

Ashley - posted on 11/02/2011

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Our rule is a minute for how old they are. SO if they are 2 then 2 minutes (it seems like a life time to them) but in our house if they move from the time out wall then their time starts over. They have to be quiet and face the wall until the timer goes off.

Karleigh - posted on 10/29/2011

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omg! 20 minutes or 45 minutes is way too long !! you never put a child of any age on a time out for that long. i have a two year old and her time outs are no longer then 5 minutes . I usually leave her there until she stops crying ( a couple minutes) and says sorrry . i would definatley be talking to her teacher .

Amber - posted on 10/28/2011

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Rule of thumb is 1 min per year and not younger than 2. 20 min is unacceptable and 45 min is just wrong!

Wendy - posted on 10/25/2011

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by the time 45 min. are over, most 2 yr. olds wouldnt even remember why they were put there in the first place.

I think one minute per year of age and start the time over everytime they get up from time out before the 2 min. is up.

Iysha - posted on 10/19/2011

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til they stop crying and then 1 minute for every year of age....45 minutes, or 20 minutes is waaaay too long. i'd be pissed.

Jennifer - posted on 10/18/2011

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What I've heard for time out is one minute for each year of age, 2 years old 2 minutes in timeout. However I don't usually think 2 minutes is sufficient, so I usually do about 5 minutes, tops, depending on the offense. 45 minutes is way too long and so is 20 for a 2 year old to sit still. That's just asking for more trouble.

Sandy - posted on 10/16/2011

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I think that 20 minutes is too long for a time out for a child under ten years old. It sounds like the teacher just didn't want to deal with the child at all.

Hopefully, the teacher also tried to explain to the toddler the negatives of throwing rocks at people, and the reason for the punishment. My daughter also threw rocks at people at the same age. Once she understood why it was wrong, she stopped doing it. Punishment alone is useless if the child doesn't understand the reason.

Margaret - posted on 10/16/2011

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I remember when my kids were smaller hearing that toddlers should be put in timeout one minute per each year of their age to get there attention, and then it was important to make eye contact with them immediately afterward and talk calmly about what just happened.

Mariette - posted on 10/16/2011

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1 minute for each year of age yes. as it is hard on them to sit still and not being able to play with friends or toys.

Bonnie - posted on 10/11/2011

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they are only suppose to be in time out for 2 mins when they r 2 its a 1min for each year they get older for timeout thats what i was always told

[deleted account]

time out for a 2 year old should be, at most, 5 minutes if what they did was really bad. i usually give my son 2 to 3 minutes.

Belinda - posted on 10/11/2011

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You should only put a two year old in time out for 2 mins. That teacher was wrong.

Cheryl - posted on 10/10/2011

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temper tantrums is different. I just leave my son to cry it out. he's two and very strong minded (well at least I think so) at a minimum it's 20 minutes sometimes up to an hour. He still trys to negotiate otherwise - negotiate in his world is drag you back to whatever he wanted

[deleted account]

I don't understand this situation. If your daughter was only in time-out for 5 minutes, why did her teacher tell you 45 minutes, and then 20 minutes?

Now it's 5 minutes? If she was trying to be funny, I fail to see the humor.

Claudia - posted on 10/10/2011

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one minute per age. 2 year old = 2 minutes. As a teacher, she should know better. I come from a family of teachers (I am not one), and I usually ask my sister that is a mom and a teacher herself, the best way to correct my children, and she gave me this 1 year = 1 minute guideline. Children respond better if you knee down to her level, look at her eyes and explain why she sould not do this, and that that action makes you (mom) very sad. if she does again then give the time out. My oldet son is now 4 years old and we still doing this and works preaty well. 20 minutes is abuse towards a child that does not undestand time. Now that said, I agree with you about the child needing to get used to be away from mom. I am blessed to be able to be a stay home mom, but my older boy starter preschool at 2 years and 5 months old. He loved going to school so much because there he had tons of children at his own age to play with. He learned to share, to play nice with others, to wait for his turn, and so on. Children love to be with other children and now he goes 3 times a week. I give you thumbs up for doing the best you can! I am sure that your child have a great mom.

Carla - posted on 10/09/2011

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I am guessing Diane took the term teacher quite literally here. Hence the homework comment. My son is in a preschool program, and I am a SAHM. There is no homework, but there is learning to be in a social environment with other children while having fun and learning at the same time. I feel that this has helped him to have better skills when interacting with other children, as well as helping him to work through the anxiety that comes with being without Mommy. And btw, he has a great woman who guides this class and she is referred to as "Teacher Tara".
I hope that my interpretation of your comment is correct, because otherwise that is an awfully judgmental and ignorant opinion to have.
Elise, I hope you got everything sorted out.

Leanne - posted on 10/09/2011

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I normally leave my 3 year old in time out until he stops his tantrum or crying, usually its about 20 mins to 1/2 an hour.For a 2 year old about 10 mins .

Elise - posted on 10/09/2011

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I am a single mother doing everything by myself... I cannot afford to stay home with her but honestly even if I could I would probably still have her in a daycare a couple of hours a week so that she can get used to being away from me and I could get a break I love my daughter with all of my heart and would do anything in the world for her but after running around all day with her I'm ready for bed the "me" time would be spent getting my house straight... Her class does not do homework they play and learn the alphabet Addison is very much a people person she would nor enjoy staying at home all day with just me to play with... I'm doing the best I can with what I have

Cheryl - posted on 10/09/2011

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doesn't the nanny say a couple of minutes per age. I believe they would have been better to get down to her level and explain that throwing rocks hurts people. After she did it I would make her pick up the rocks and apologise to the teacher (with a hug). That's just me but I don't believe that they will learn at this age with time out.?

[deleted account]

a 2 yr. old with a teacher? come on... let the kid be a kid before you start with the homework. let's get them out of diapers first...........then consider school.

Jeanne - posted on 10/09/2011

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Elise-Twenty minutes is way too long. The best rule of thumb is one minute per year. Since she is two, then I would say two minutes. Another thing you might try is to redirect her. Suggest that your daughter be redirected or telling her in an age appropriate way of what you can do as opposed to what you can't do. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Crikey MUm - posted on 10/09/2011

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Two year olds absolutely have no concept of time, so time outs really don't work. Sure, they'll sit in the time out, but honestly how many times are you going to put the child in time out, and for how long. All you are doing is having the child sit for a minute, then go back to playing, they don't really learn anything from it.

Rather than time outs, we use the holding technique, have since 1 year old, well since he started walking around. www.saveoursleep.com is the baby whisperer program, it's bloody brilliant. Read about the holding technique, which works brilliantly and our child GETS it. Actions are very rarely repeated hours, days or weeks after as it prevents them from doing what they love the most, NOT being held! Actually look on youtube. Save our Sleep Holding technique..good luck!
www.crikeymum.com

Fawn - posted on 10/08/2011

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I've read that time outs should be no longer than 1 minute for every year of age. A two year old should have a time out no longer than 2 minutes.

Cassandra - posted on 10/08/2011

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the child should be in timeout according to their age. so if your daughter is 2 then it is 2 mins. if she was throwing the rocks out of play iyou should still express to her that it is not nice to throw rocks at anyone. if you fail to correct her then she will likely repeat the act and next time if she hits another child the mother might not be so nice about it. my son is almost 3 and if he misbehaves he goes in time out for 2 mins and knows not to get up until his timeout bear rings.

Carla - posted on 10/08/2011

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No you are not over reacting! That is ridiculous! A child that young does not have a mean intention when they do something like that, and definitely not full awareness of their actions. That is a teaching/guiding opportunity, albeit an opportunity to teach them that it is an inappropriate behaviour and that there are consequences. However, I believe that an acceptable amount of time is 2 minutes, as I go by their age for a guideline. I must mention though that time outs don't even work for all children of that age. I did not have success with my son when he was that young.
That seems extremely punitive to me for any young child. I'm sorry that your daughter had to endure that. Having rocks thrown at you is not nice, but how culpable is a two year old, and if you can't gauge that appropriately then you have no business working in a profession with children. The sad thing is that she told you about it like it was normal and acceptable. What else can happen there that you don't know about?

Jessica - posted on 10/08/2011

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The rule is a minute for each year of age. Also giving the child a visual so they understand I use my kitchen timer. Kids do not understand minutes to them its an eternity. I would meet with that teacher and the school principal that was excessive.

Brittany - posted on 10/07/2011

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when it comes to timeouts it really depends on how old they are. I was told by my mother, who worked with children her whole life and had 5 of her own that you should put children in timeouts for 2 minutes per each year of their age. That teacher was completely wrong putting a 2 yr old in time out for more than 5 minutes.

Elise - posted on 10/07/2011

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I know it wasn't 45 min I talked to one of the owners she said that it was really about 5 Addison was put in around 3:35 and I got there at 3:40 so the worker said that she was just picking with me but now my concern is you should NEVER pick with a parent about "punishment" what if I had been totally against time out? Addison was moved to another class in the afternoon with a teacher both of us love so I am happy now

Emily - posted on 10/07/2011

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Should be their age equals how many minutes in time out. So 2 minutes! I would be one hot mama!

Shawna - posted on 10/07/2011

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I worked at two differnt daycares when i was younger and at each one it was one minute for year of the child. I think personally thats fitting but putting a two year old im time out for 20 mins is a bit extreme in my opinion even if she did throw a rock. Pull her aside, explain in a way that she will understand that you shouldn't throw anything at people, sit her in time out one min per year, and when her time is up remind her what ever she did was wrong and explain to her again then let her go play. I think you are completely justified in how you feel and not over reacting at all. I would be rather mad if that was my child. I would also wonder if it really was 20 mins rather than the 45 that was first stated.

Regine - posted on 10/07/2011

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20 min is to long for a 2 year old. I was told by my doctor it's 1 min for every year your child is. Mine is 3 years old now and she gets 3 min time out and she has to apologize. I would over react if I were you.

Donna - posted on 10/06/2011

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I think 20 min is way too long. 2 min b/c of her age is enough like on super nanny. Besides after 10 min I assume a 2 yr old has forgotten why they were put in the corner for any way, their attention spans just aren't that big. I remember when my mother sent me to my room for hours, it was hell. I was 9 but still, no tv, no games nothing just sit there for hours. She only did it twice b/c the last time she tried it I was 17 and said oh hell no im not a little kid kiss my ass and walked down to the family room in the basement.

Elise - posted on 10/06/2011

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I talked to one of the owners today and Addison has been moved to another class she will never be in the same class as the teacher that put her in time out... I have another appt with the other owner in the morning thank you all for your support

CJ - posted on 10/06/2011

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Definantly not overreacting. I'd p[robably pull my child from that daycare if they put my 2 yr old in time out that long. I used to work in a daycare, and the rule was 1 minute for every year they are old. Now my daughter gets time added to her time outs when she's not staying in time out or playing in time out, but I limit it to no more than 5 min. Otherwise she doesn't even remember what she was put in time out for in the first place.

September - posted on 10/06/2011

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I've heard its 1 minute for each year of age. So a 2 year old would sit in time out for 2 minutes. 45 minutes is FAR too long! So no you're not over reacting. I'd be pissed and just because you used to be friends means nothing when it comes to the professional role she should be leading.

Kathy - posted on 10/06/2011

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my rule is 1min per year so if he's two, then 2mins. believe me, that feels like a lifetime to a toddler! my dd is now 3 so she gets 3mins for time out.

20min for a time out is way too long for a 2YO and not fair either. i would def speak to her about that.

Elise - posted on 10/06/2011

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Thank you ladies. The owner wasn't there this morning, but I talked to one of the managers she will let th owner know and I have a meeting this afternoon. I really appreciate everything!

Sharon - posted on 10/05/2011

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Yep, I'd be having a firm word with them, and if something isn't done and they can't guarantee me it won't happen again then I wouldn't be taken my kids back there. 45mins...20mins....whatever time it really was is way way way too long.

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