How to Determine The Length of a Time-Out

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A time-out is removing your child from the situation they were just misbehaving in without using your hand or your voice.

During a time-out you need to remove your child immediately from the situation and place in a safe area and free from all toys or tv, to sit quietly for a small amount of time.  You do not need to pick the same area each time for the time-out but it does need to be in a well lit, quiet, and safe environment.  Have the child sit on a chair, couch, or bench.

To determine the length of the time out, go by one minute for each year the child is.

If the child is two years old, then they need to sit quietly by themselves for two minutes. They will get angry and throw a fit, but try your best to remain calm. Do not begin the time until the child has calmed down, seated, and quiet. Do not let the child leave the time-out until they are calmed down.  Timers can be helpful, it can remind you and the child the time is up.

If your child does not go willingly to time-out, then walk or carry them over there. Its best to use a short explanation on why they are in time-out, and then leave the room. For example, say “No kicking, go to time-out”. Do not hit, threaten, spank, or argue with them.  Its best to say nothing after the explanation.

Remember consistence is key. Handle each time-out in the same way you did with the previous one. Use time-outs every time the problem behavior occurs.