Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Time Out Spot

If you’ve ever watched Super Nanny, you know that Jo Frost is a magician when coming to getting children to behave. One of her most used techniques is the establishment of a “naughty spot,” where she puts kids into time out to help teach them to behave. Her naught spots have taken form of a time-out stool, time-out stairs, or even a time-out beanbag. Well, now Baby Bella has a time-out spot! Super Nanny, I think you’re going to have to do some shopping at Baby Bella…

Why time-outs? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends time-outs as an effective form of discipline for some very good reasons. They caution against spanking, pointing to evidence that suggests that spanking can lead to increased aggression and anger in children and can undermine their ability to handle their anger as adults. Time-outs, on the other hand, teach children to take time to calm their body down so that they can make good choices. Indeed, I use time-outs as part of my parenting repertoire with James and I have seen them make a huge difference. I find they are especially important when he and I are really starting to butt heads and we both need a chance to gain some perspective.

The following recommendations are usually given for making a time out the most effective:

1. Decide on 3 or 4 behaviors are most important to change. These are the behaviors that will lead to a time-out. For James, we have established that that he will take a time-out if starts using disrespectful or grumpy words with us.

2. Choose a time-out spot (and with the new “time-out spot” from Baby Bella, this spot can be anywhere. And, even better, you can take it with you on trips so that you can have a time-out spot wherever you go! )

3. When your child engages in the problem behavior, give a one warning. Then use as few words as possible to explain what your little one did wrong. Ask her to go to the time-out spot. Take her there if needed.

4. Set a timer for the number of minutes your child should be in time-out. A child should spend as many minutes in time-out as she is old (so James would spend five minutes in time-out because he is 5 years old).

5. If your child gets off the spot, gently put her back. It’s generally recommended that you do *not* talk to your child as you do this, as your child probably wants attention from you at this point and if you give it to her, she’s likely to keep getting off the spot to get the attention. Most importantly, *remain calm and keep emotions out of it!* This is probably the hardest part. Restart the timer each time you put your child back. If you are consistent, it should only take a few times of doing this before your child learns to stay on the spot.

6. Once your child has remained on the spot for the amount of time required, the time-out is done. When the timer goes off, remind your child that you love her, and have her go back to playing. Discuss the behavior later, as needed.

Now that you’ve got the run-down on time-outs, all you need is the time-out spot from Baby Bella! What are you waiting for?

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