Time out involves removing a
child for a brief period of time and is effective in helping to
set limits for children and teaching them what is appropriate. It is an
extension of ignoring poor behavior (i.e. removing attention which is
inadvertently encouraging the behavior) and helps parents or careers
remain in control. It has been shown to be significantly more effective
than smacking. It should be used sparingly, practiced and is most
appropriate when a child refuses to do as they're told. For more
minor behavioral difficulties such as demanding alternative methods
should be employed such as ignoring or removing a privilege.
Time out is most effective for
children between the ages of 2-6 and should not be used with very young
The following procedure has been
developed from the work of Forehand, R. & Long, N. (1996). Parenting
The Strong Willed Child: The clinically proven five week programmed for
parents of two to six year olds.
Choose a Location
corner( for 2-3 year olds)
Use a corner
or chair where there is nothing for the child to be distracted away from
where a child could be frightened!
Issue a good direction
If your child does not begin to comply within 5 seconds issue a
warning, " If you do not ................, you will have to take
If your child does not comply within 5 seconds state, "
because you did not ..............., you have to take time out"
Lead your child to time out without lecturing scolding or
arguing. Withdraw to another room.
Ignore shouting, protesting and promising to comply. Avoid eye
Tell your child to sit in the time out chair or stand still in
the corner facing the wall.
When your child is sitting quietly, set the timer ( 1 minute for
every year of age up to a maximum of 5 minutes)
When the time is over, including being quiet for the last thirty
seconds return to the chair or corner and say that time out is over
Restate the original direction
Implement the time out again if your child does not comply
When your child complies it is very important to use praise
so the child learns what behavior is expected.
Steps to Using Time Out
Select time out place
Memorize the steps
Practice without your child
Tell your child about time out for non-compliance
Begin to use time out for failure to comply with directions
Begin using time out for other problem behaviors in the home
Begin using time out for other problems in public places
Avoid giving lengthy explanations about why you are using time
to make your child feel guilty or to give you an apology - you are
aiming to get them to do what you wanted.
let them make you feel guilty even if they say they are going to comply
before they get to the chair or corner. To stop it before it is
completed will give the message that - "I donít have to comply
until I have been warned and until I have been sent to time out"
you want them to get is - "I should comply when I am asked to do
Problems and Solutions
Refusing to sit in the chair - do not start time out until your
child is seated.
or moving - stop the timer.
Place him in
chair tell him to sit still and place your hand on his leg. Try to avoid
privilege if he does not return to the chair (for 5 year olds and up).
If you use a
corner and your child attempts to come out before time out is up, return
him immediately without any fuss and stand close with your back to the
you verbally - ignore the results
crying - ignore
leave the time out - start the time out again
interaction during time out - if feasible put the sibling in time out in
luck and donít for get to practice the technique and give it chance to
work (at least 2 weeks)! A child's negative response to the punishment
is understandable but in a relatively short period of time will
significantly subside as your child learns you mean business; then the
mere threat of time out will often result in compliance.
Alex Camm (Senior
Anne Flemming (Primary Mental
Health Care Worker)
Dr Andy Gill (Team Manager)
For More information read our book:
"PAIDEIA: Discipline, Correction and Punishment" by Lorena