Time-Out Guidelines

These basic guidelines for using a "time-out" will make the technique more effective.

  • Determine the time-out setting:
    • Safety first
    • As boring as possible
  • Identify one priority misbehavior
  • Use a timer
  • Explain time-out to your child:
    • Time-out is going to improve behavior
    • What time-out is
    • How the time works
    • How the timer works
    • Describe the priority misbehavior (give an example)
  • Use time-out as part of a plan
  • Be consistent with time-out
  • Stay calm when you use time-out
  • Use a chart to keep a record of progress
  • Initial episodes may be difficult (extinction burst)
The Time in Time-Out
  • 5 minutes if you cooperate
  • 10 minutes if you do not
Start the time when your child is sitting quietly (a little crying is okay)

The Child Who Refuses to Go
Put little ones in

Take away the treasure:
  • Until the time-out is done
  • Until the time-out is done plus 24 hours (or a reasonable added time)
When Your Child Completes Time-Out
Start fresh-redirect (if the misbehavior is over)

or

Your child still has to do what is asked (if he went to time-out for refusing a request)

Use Delayed Time-Out
  • For inconvenient times
  • When away from home
Time-out for two: flip a coin and take turns.

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