Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alternatives to Time Out

One of my favorite sayings is,

"Discipline is different than punishment. Punishments are a negative outcome from negative behaviors. Discipline is about teaching!"

Cue my shpeal on TIME OUT's:

Almost everyone  I know uses "time outs" as a form of discipline for their children. 
Be it a corner
a time out stool or chair
or even facing the wall.

My personal opinion is that this is more of a punishment than it is discipline because it doesn't involve any teaching! It is simply a negative outcome from a negative act or behavior. 

(I will say that issuing a time out is better than doing nothing)
But let me give you 3 reasons to consider reducing or even eliminating the Time Out tool in your home:

1. Time Outs = isolation. Isolation teaches nothing of value! This is true from the age of 2 clear up until the teenage years! Isolation in younger children can cause stress and anxiety sometimes causing them to react even more difficult. Isolation in older children causes resentment on top of stress and anxiety. 

2. Time Outs are rarely related to the issue at hand, and young children are rarely able to relate the Time Out to the event that precipitated it.

3. Time Outs are usually thrown at children more for the parent than the child. It's the parent who feels they needs a break from the child, but the child more likely needs some instruction, re-direction, role playing, role reversal, and/or guidance.

Q: What are some better discipline techniques that actually involve teaching?
(before you read ahead make note that different circumstances call for different techniques. Using a different technique for different circumstances is more effective than simply issuing a Time Out for any and all incidents. 

The Calm Couch
The calm couch should be a designated area, preferably within sight of Mom or Dad that is used every time a child is throwing a tantrum, or has let their emotions get out of control passed the point of reason. I say this because children usually grow out of the tantrum stage, but teenagers are notorious for letting their emotions get the best of them. Once the child has calmed down, a loving heart to heart should follow with the parent sitting next to the child or kneeling on the floor looking up at the child. Children learn best from example so it is important that you remain calm while placing your child on the Calm Couch, while they sit there, and while you talk afterwards. It is important NOT to send your child to their room! Their room should not be used as a Calm Couch alternative.

CALM COUCH ON-THE-GO / The "Glitter Jar"
This technique is great for when you are in the car, on vacation, or even at the grocery store. It could also be used in your home as an alternative to the Calm Couch, especially if you don't have a couch within view of where you are at the time. The idea is to create the jar, {INSTRUCTIONS ARE HERE}and then keep it in your purse or somewhere else handy. Maybe make several! One for the car, one for your purse, etc. When your child needs to calm down, shake the jar and have your child hold it and watch the glitter fall, much like a snowglobe. They will have to sit very still in order for the glitter to fall completely! Once the
                 Source: Creative Little Daisy

glitter has fallen you can have your heart to heart and discuss their behavior.

Repentance Bench/Chair
The repentance chair, or preferably a bench so more than 1 can sit on it, is a place for children to go to discuss inappropriate behavior, say they're sorry and repent. This is a tool that is especially beneficial when there is more than 1 child that is misbehaving such as a sibling argument. It is important to use this tool as a way for the child to acknowledge their inappropriate behavior, say they're sorry, and then receive forgiveness. If more than one child is involved they should acknowledge their part, (NEVER FOCUS ON WHO STARTED IT OR WHO WAS MOST AT FAULT) say they are sorry to eachother, and then say, "I forgive you". to each other. A very important step in the repentance process is forgiveness. And teaching your children to forgive others, as well as themselves is an invaluable thing for them to learn!  If one child does not want to forgive the other, they should remain seated until they are ready. Again, when having your heart to heart, get down to their eye level!

Happy Parenting!

P.S. If you want to read a great article on how to teach your children to learn to cope with their emotions CLICK HERE. It is based on a parenting technique called "Emotion Coaching Parenting"


  1. I see there our not as many comments here as with some of your other post..But I must admit I use timeout. After reading you post I agree with you, they are not learning a lesson by standing there, they are mad and are not thinking about what they did in the first place. I will try these technique's and see how they work> I just stumbled upon your website via Pinterest and love it. And the name is adorable. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to make our children into a better future..

    New Fan!!

  2. Really like the *Glitter Jar*. I am going to make one for myself to use - on myself. Thanks for the idea