Time out doesn't really work anymore

Eileen - posted on 04/29/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




I started doing time outs with my 18 month old about a month ago. At first it was a struggle, but then it started going smoothly. Now, however, I have encountered a new problem. My child will look at me and smile while she's doing something she knows is wrong, and then go put herself in time out. Obviously time out isn't working. What do I do next?


[deleted account]

I've never met anyone who got time out to actually work as it should.

She is obviously seeking your attention--she's looking at you to make sure you are watching.
If possible, allow her to experience the natural consequences of her actions. When that is not possible, create the closest possible logical consequence. What kinds of thing is she doing? (natural consequences require no work on your part. Logical consequences do, but not much, they should be directly related to whatever she is doing wrong).
In addition to that, make sure you are spending one on one time with her, focusing on nothing but her, for at least 6 to 8 10 minute sessions per day. I know as parents, it feels like we are constantly spending time with our kids, but really, honestly look at your day, and you will see that most of the time we are with our kids, we are not 100% focused on them. We are keeping an eye on them while we cook dinner, make snacks, clean the house, make the beds, etc. etc. etc. Our kids notice that and they want 100% of our focus. If they don't get it, they resort to bad behavior to get it because they can be sure that when they are misbehaving, they are getting all of your attention--they don't care if it's good attention or bad. Start off by setting a timer for 10 minutes and during that 10 minutes stop doing everything and focus on nothing but her. When the timer dings, set it for 15 minutes or so and tell her that you are going to clean (or whatever) until the bell rings, then you can play again. The first week will be hard, she won't want you to stop playing, and you'll get frustrated with the bell going off right when you get into your tasks, but if you stick to it, it will get easier fast. She will begin to realize that if she lets you go, you will come back regularly, so there is no need for her to pester you while you clean. Gradually you can increase the amount of time between your play sessions.

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