Skip Nav

A Script for Timeouts That Actually Work

A Script for Timeouts That Actually Work

Circle of Moms member Stacy R. writes, "Every time I have to put my daughter in time out its a battle... I mean a big battle. She hits, kicks, pinches and says mean things. I am at the end of my rope and don’t
know what to do.”

Many parents find themselves in the same dance. The Time-out Dance. The one where parents try to get kids to sit in the time-out spot and the child refuses. There is more time spent on that dance than the child would have spent in time-out. If this is your routine, it is time for a change...

“I said clean up the blocks or you get a time out!”

I know that “time out” is what adults are being told to tell non-listening children, but without explanation of why a child is in “time out," the life lesson is being lost. In the aforementioned scenario a child will hear this:

“I did not clean, so I am in trouble.”

Maybe that IS what you are saying, but that will not prevent the mess leaving the next time your child is playing. If you choose “time out” as a consequence for your child, frame it so that it becomes a lesson instead of a punishment. So that, even if they are mad, children understand why they have to pause on playing or clean up their activity before moving on to another.

“I need you to clean up the blocks or you cannot move onto another activity. If you are not going to clean, you will have to stay here until you are ready. You choose when you get to move on.” (Said in a calm, quiet voice.)

I am not saying you can’t use the words “time out” if you so choose. I am just imploring you to use them clearly and with the intent of banishing the frustrating behavior, not the child.

Brandi Davis is a professional Parenting Coach with a Bachelors of Science in Child Development and Family Studies, and 14 years of teaching experience. Her book, O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? is a compilation of articles touching on a myriad of child rearing topics such as parent-child communication, quick dinners, tantrums, how to get your kids to listen, productive discipline and much more, and will help parents find new ways to get what they need accomplished without all of the tantrums and power struggles that create conflicts within the family.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Latest Moms
Watch Our Holiday Gift Guide Show!