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    I need to re-think this time-out thing

    I’m not perfect at this, but I’m really trying to be judicious over what we will allow G to do and not do. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m lax on a lot of things (you wanna play with a fork, kid? sure!) and yes, I cave in on a lot of his requests after a certain amount of whining (Ok, fine — you can take my computer mouse), but I really want to put my foot down on the big stuff. I also want to let him know when I mean business and that getting in trouble has consequences.

    I’m trying to establish a “time out” zone for G. I wanted somewhere he won’t easily run away from, but not used for other purposes. His dining room chair is out. While it fulfills part I of the requirement, it fails horribly in part II and I didn’t want him to associate eating with being in trouble. So I had an epiphany: the Bumbo chair. He never sat in it much as a wee one: we still have it downstairs, and he’s got a small enough rear, he can still fit.

    So I tried it (during a legitimate timeout offense, I assure you)!

    Fail 1: I thought that he’d be small enough to still sit in it, but too big to be able to get out on his own. Wrong!!! 10 seconds into Time Out, G just got up and rolled away. I put him back in, he rolled away again.

    Fail 2: A week later, I come to see this:

    That’s right: in the middle of his play-space, G got one of his toys and quietly crept into his Bumbo and decided to play.

    What gives, kid? Now, what am I supposed to do for a time-out chair? If he thinks Bumbo is for fun, it’s no good as a “you’re in trouble, Young Man” thinking place.

    Darn kid! Neutralized my parenting weaponry even before we got going.

    Back to the drawing board…

    7 responses to “I need to re-think this time-out thing”

    1. Mike says:

      That’s what basements are for!

    2. Kelly Marie says:

      In our living room we have a little table with two chairs. For time out I put the chair in the corner, facing the wall.the time out isn’t so much about the chair, but as the placement of it.

    3. Julia Luckenbill says:

      That’s a good example for my UCD class! I’ve been explaining to them about research that suggests that time out “to think about what you’ve done” is ineffective in very young children because they can not yet think about what they did — the consequence does not relate to the punishment. It does give mommy a break when she is angry at baby,and prevents spanking, but doesn’t establish much in terms of reflection.
      At our lab school we try to link the consequence with the offense. For example, if you get up and walk away from snack, you are all done. If you draw on the walls you are all done with the crayons. If you climb the shelf we will help you get down, and then help you find another place that is ok to climb. If you throw rocks, we remind you to throw soft things and help you find a soft ball to throw. We find that thinking about the impulse behind the behavior and redirecting the child to something else that is ok with you and still meets that need is the most effective way to get behaviors to change.

      • avalikelava says:

        To elaborate, I by no means believe that at 17 months G is capable of reflecting on his behavior. I completely understand that there is no “think about what you’ve done” at this age. However, discipline is important to establish as early as possible. I’m a big believer in redirection and practice it often. However, redirection alone is not enough — or at least it hasn’t been since he was about 15-16 months old.

    4. Katie says:

      We put S in the most boring place in the house – literally all she can look at is a wall, there’s nothing there. The first several times, she of course got up. I watched SuperNanny back in the day and remembered her way of not saying anything, just pick them up and put them back in the spot. Over and over, for the entire time (a minute in S’s case). After a couple time outs doing that, she knows to stay there…for the full minute! Now the hardest part is seeing the sad face while she’s in there – UGH.

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