If you've ever watched super nanny you know that she enforces the use of a time out chair or space when children misbehave with temper tantrums or habitual antisocial behaviors. After implementing the time out, following through with it, being consistent and talking with the child once they are calm, super nanny always tells parents to follow with love.
Habitual antisocial behaviors is another area to consider using time outs. Habitual behaviors are things like biting, kicking and hitting. All children will do one, if not all of these many many times while they are young. The problem occurs when these behaviors become a habit or a way of getting attention. When these habitual behaviors start the parent must work at stopping the problem as well as interrupting the pattern of positive reinforcement that has allowed it to continue. Time out is a way to help do this. Once again, it removes the child from the situation so that a normal thought process can be taught and gained again.
Here are some things to remember about time outs:
- Time out should last about 1-2 minutes for preschoolers and 5 minutes or so for older children.
- Time out means time away from the mainstream of group activity.
- It is not appropriate to use time out to humiliate a child or as a threat. Threats undermine trust between adults and children. Time out is effective when is is treated as a coping mechanism, not as a form of punishment.
- Time out does not need to last longer than the time it takes for the child to calm down. Becoming calm is the goal. Once its reached, you can talk with and explain to the child why they were put in time out.
Source: Guiding Children's Social Development & Learning by Kostelink, Whiren, Soderman and Gregory