Monday, March 10, 2014

Positive Time-Out

A Positive Discipline Tool Card

Imagine you are an employee who has made a mistake, and your boss comes to you and says, “You go to time-out and think about what you have done. And don’t come out until I say you can.” Or, if you are married, imagine your spouse coming to you and saying, “I don’t like your behavior. You are grounded for a week.” In either of these scenario’s what would you be thinking, feeling, and deciding. Is there any chance that you would say, “Oh, thank you so much. This is so helpful. I’m feeling so encouraged and empowered and can hardly wait to do better.”  Not likely.

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that we have to make children feel bad before they will do better? This crazy idea is the basis for punitive time-out. It doesn’t work for children any more than it would work for adults.

Children are always making decisions about themselves (am I good or bad, capable or not capable, etc.), decisions about others, (are they supportive, friendly, etc. or not), and then decisions about what they will do in the future. These decisions help create a child's personality (even though many are made at a subconscious level).

When children are sent to punitive time-out, they are likely to be thinking, "I won't get caught next time." "I'll get even." Or, worst of all, "I'm bad." This is why the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) is very much against time-out.

Positive Time-Out

Positive time-out is totally different. A child (or students in a classroom) designs a "positive time-out area" filled with pleasant things to help him calm down until he can access his rational brain and "do better."

After he has designed his "positive time-out area." he gives it another name such as "my space," or my "my cool off spot." Giving positive time-out another name helps eliminate the negative feelings of punitive time-out.”

Then allow your child to "choose" to go to his positive time-out instead of being sent.  During a conflict you might say, “Would it help you to go to your ‘feel good place?” If your child says, “No,” ask, “Would you like me to go with you?” (Often this is encouraging to a child and helps increase a connection, as well as calming down.) If your child still says, “No,” (or is having such a temper tantrum, she can’t even hear you,) say, “Okay, I’m going to my time-out place.” What a great model for your children.

Go to your own Positive Time-Out

Of course it is a good idea for you to have your own positive time-out area so you can model this self-regulation skill. Going to your own positive time-out may be the best place to start during a conflict. Instead of asking your child if it would help her to go to her feel good place, just go to your own. Your time-out could be a physical place. It could also take place by taking deep breaths, counting to ten (or 100), meditating on how much you love your child, etc.

Not for Children under the age of Three to Four

If a child isn't old enough to design his own positive-time-out area, he is not old enough to understand any kind of time-out—even positive time-out.

Choose another Positive Discipline Tool Card

Remember that even positive-time-out is not always the most effective parenting tool to help children learn self-discipline, responsibility, problem-solving skills, and other valuable social and life skills.  That is why there are 52 tool cards.

Listen below to an excerpt from Building Self-Esteem Through Positive Discipline.

Positive Time-Out

Introducing Jared's Cool-Out Space (Children's Picture Book)

Children, parents, and teachers will enjoy this beautifully illustrated book that teaches the value of "positive time-out" to help children learn self-soothing skills. Co-authored by Jane Nelsen and Ashlee Wilkin, and illustrated by political cartoonist, Bill Schorr. Click Here for More Information.


Leale said...

Do you have any suggestions to use for 2 1/2 year olds? I have twin boys who are 2 1/2 and I'm having trouble reinforcing that we do not take toys, hit, or kick. All I really do for that is involve myself more with them. Look at their cues, as to why they may be doing that, and sit with them. I talk with them about how it is not nice to treat others that way, etc. Honestly, sometimes it gets really frustrating because one is always doing it more than the other, even after we talk about it. Do I need to do more at this age? Or do I need to do more? And also, they have trouble listening (which I know is completely normal), but it makes me nervous (and honestly, frustrated at times), because when they really need to listen to me (helping them avoid danger), will they? Should I worry myself with them not listening at this age? I just don't know what is to be expected. Any guidance will be much appreciated!

Leale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amie56 said...

I am in a similar position but only have 1 boy and would love to hear suggestions

DeAnn Saykawlard said...

I would also like advice for the younger set. Was on a we cast two nights ago that promised advice from toddler to teen but only heard advice from 2 1/2 and up. Disappointing!

Jane Nelsen said...

Not for Children under the age of Three to Four

If a child isn't old enough to design his own positive-time-out area, he is not old enough to understand any kind of time-out—even positive time-out.

Jane Nelsen said...

There are a couple of ways to get answers to questions. You can go to the following link and type in a topic. You can also join our private social network which is a friendly, encouraging Positive Discipline community. Questions are answered by Dr. Jane Nelsen, Certified Positive Discipline Associates and other parents.

Anonymous said...

can this place b in their room?

Jane Nelsen said...

Yes…their room is a great place to create a positive time-out area.

Lindsay Missildine said...

What if you are out in public?