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Time out or time in and other positive parenting solutions

On our facebook page last week I shared an image of a chair that I thought was super cute.  A chair for time out.  I don’t own the chair, nor am I going to buy it, just thought I’d share it with you all.  Boy it opened a can of worms about ‘time out’.  Below is the chair and the question I asked.  The chair can be found at Zanui.

This ‘time out chair’ is so cute. Where do you put your kids for time out? We used to have a spot in the laundry, but now the cat litter tray is in there we changed it to the hallway.

I guess I was ignorant in the fact I didn’t realise that time out wasn’t used in some families. But what I love most about blogging and our facebook page is reading other’s opinions and learning from it, how you do it and as I always express, I’m not saying I do it the right way or this is how it should be done, I just share my tips and ideas for you to adapt to your family. I was just purely sharing this image cause I thought the chair was cute.

You can read all comments and opinions about this chair and time out here.

I am not going to criticise anybody for their belief’s if time out is right or wrong and I hope that you can all express your own opinions without judging others.  We all have different children with different behaviours, we all parent our children differently and what works for one child/family may not work for another.

Why I use time out

I am very grateful that my children are well behaved, have good manners, don’t hurt each other, follow instructions really well and most of the time play together nicely.  But there are times that my girls fight, one doesn’t want to share or they just argue over the silliest of things, then there are tears, yelling, dobbing.  We all know how it goes.  Then the next minute they are the best of friends and play so beautifully together.

I try my best to get to the bottom of why they are fighting, help them understand how they could of  behaved in the situation and get them to play separately. But… there are times that doing all these things just doesn’t work, one of them won’t listen, argues or continues the behaviour.  It’s then time for time out.  I use the 1 minute to every year of age rule, this is time for them to calm down, think about what happened and to apologise for their actions.  The apology isn’t for me, it’s for their sibling.

This works for my girls, but not for my son.  He rarely needs to be disciplined, but when he does having technology (iPod’s, TV time, computer or Xbox) time taken away from him is a better alternative.

Consider the alternatives

After reading through everybody’s comments I’ve learned about some different techniques such as:


Time-ins, like time-outs, are promoted as a gentle, effective tool for managing the undesired behaviors of young children.  You can read more about time in via the following articles I found:

123 magic process

Extract from the book depository:  The award-winning 1-2-3 Magic program addresses the difficult task of child discipline with humour, keen insight, and proven experience. The technique offers a foolproof method of disciplining children ages two through 12 without arguing, yelling, or spanking. By means of three easy-to-follow steps, parents learn to manage troublesome behaviour, encourage good behaviour, and strengthen the parent-child relationship – avoiding the ‘Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit’ syndrome which frustrates so many parents. Ten strategies for building a child’s self-esteem and the six types of testing and manipulation a parent can expect from the child are discussed, as well as tips on how to prevent homework arguments, make mealtimes more enjoyable, conduct effective family meetings, and encourage children to start doing their household chores. New advice about kids and technology and new illustrations bring this essential parenting companion completely up-to-date.

These books can be purchased through The Book Depository, free shipping worldwide.

Positive Solutions

When I was googling for details about time in, I found this great article 10 things to do instead of time out, read the article for full details about each item.  I’m actually going to try and put a few of these techniques to use before our next time out:

  1. Give a hug
  2. Walk away
  3. Take a deep breath
  4. Whisper
  5. Do something silly
  6. Think about why the child is behaving that way
  7. Consider your role in the misbehaviour
  8. Encourage
  9. Divert attention to something else
  10. Ignore the behaviour

Community Centre Parenting Workshops

When my children were younger I attended the Triple P parenting program at our local community centre, which is where I learnt the basis of my parenting techniques.  I actually booked myself in a few weeks ago to do the course again (starts in March).  Now that my oldest two are ten I was sure that there are different techniques to what I learnt many years ago.  Clearly my instincts were right  as this post has proven. I want to be ready and prepared on how to parent pre teens.

What technique works in your family?

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  • ella

    Disapline is about training a child to demonstrate appropriate behaviours. Time out, time in, smacking, lecturing, loss of free time etc are all forms of punishment for inappropriate behviour. Children are born as blank slates and whilst there are somethings that are inate in each childs personality children mostly learn what is appropriate for thier parents, care givers and as they get older thier teachers and friends.
    I believe that disapline is not just about punishment but also reenforcing and encouraging positive behaiours. When good systems of teaching children disapline (i.e responsibilty charts with rewards, good parent modeling of appropriate behaviours, socialisation that is age apprioprate etc) punishment is infrequent.
    Good disapline is done in love, and should encourage children to become self disaplined (responsible), resiliate(able to cope even under pressure), safe (have the ability to recognise a behaviour that is going to get them hurt) and empathic people (compasionate and caring towards others and their enviroment). Any punishment should fit the crime and also the age. I have found (and this is only from personal experience) a tap on the wrist (does not need to hurt) of a 14 month old who is trying to play with the oven is far more effective then reasoning with them. However long open discussions about drugs, relationships etc with 11yrs builds respect for the parents opinion rather that restrictions that send them into rebellion.
    I have 6 kids 13 down to a 14 months I don’t believe there is one single form of disapline that is sigularly effective. All my kids receive favourable reports (behaviour wise from thier teachers) and so far my teen is very cooperative. I actually never read any parenting books, I relied on those who had done it before me (mine and my hubbies parents and our grandparents) who’s wisdom on the matter I beleive far out ways that of any psycologist who may or may not have any kids. Also research is only just now showing the effects of soft parenting on our now teens and it doesn’t look good.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for these ideas Katrina. I am always trying to be the best parent i can and the time in techniques sound worthwhile trying.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Clout

    Great article. Could I suggest you look at the ‘circle of security’ parenting course, I have recently completed this and after also doing triple P! Cos was definitely more focused on meeting children’s needs in a more attached and nurturing manner. However definitely gained a lot of great ideas from the triple p course too! ReplyCancel

    • I really enjoyed the Triple P class again, it was a great refresher, I went to learn how to sort through one little hurdle I am having but came home with heaps of new ideas. I’ll look into the COS, thanks Sarah :)ReplyCancel

  • ksbrownie

    Thanks for the information. This will be very helpful parenting our son.


  • […] When the kids were younger I did use the ‘time out’ approach, I would sit them to the side with an explanation of why, they would sit there for the same amount of minutes per their age.  Eg. 4 years old, 4 minutes aside.  I would then sit with them and chat about why they acted up and explain why I didn’t like their behaviour and my expectation of them.  I wanted an apology and if it involved their sibling they needed an apology too.  Now I understand that times have changed and the ‘time out’ is frowned upon these days and ‘time in’ is the acceptable solution.  You can read more about the different positive parenting solutions I shared previously here. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah

    I don’t like the time in idea as I think it rewards bad behaviour with extra attention. I think using this method will encourage the children to play up and be naughty more often because they are rewarded with special time with mum or dad if they’re naughty. I use time out and then talk to them about what they’ve done and suggest an alternative they could try next time. Then I make sure to ‘catch’ them doing the right thing later on and reward them by giving them praise and attention for doing the right thing.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina

      I also like the praise good behaviour policy, it works well no matter what age your child is.ReplyCancel

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