Time outs are a widely used tool in many parents’ toolkits, but that does not mean that every parent is implementing them ‘properly’ or that they are effective for every child. Some signs that time outs are not working effectively include needing to use them multiple times a day, if time outs fail to de-escalate the situation, and if the behaviour persists.
Time outs are most effective when they are:
- Boring (no toys, no technology)
- Understood. Clearly state what behaviour has triggered the time out.
- Given with warning (not too many – just the one is enough)
- Brief but consistent. Set a timer for a few minutes and keep that as your standard time out duration.
If you are already doing this and do not feel like your child is responding, it may be time to try something different. Psychologists can help with developing tailored behavioural management plans and are available at Kids Inspired for consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment.