Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two Year Olds And Time Outs

By Marcia Mickelson

We do a lot of time-outs at my house. We don't do spanking at all, and maybe when our kids are a little older, we'll do grounding. For now, time-outs seem to work. My two-and-a-half-year old son really understands the concept of time-outs. He knows when he's done wrong and he's getting one. He especially understands this concept when he's hit one of his brothers. He hits, he gets a time-out. In our house, we do time-outs according to age-- the two-year old gets 2 minutes, the five-year old gets five, and the eight-year old gets 8 minutes.

My two-year old spends his time outs on his soft, Elmo chair in his room while the other two sit on a chair in the kitchen. When my little one is in time-out, it's so cute. He knows he has to stay there, and he does his time, all with a scowl on his face. I have to laugh almost every time. The funniest part of his time-outs is that sometimes, he doesn't wait for me to put him in time-out. Recently, when he assaulted my oldest by throwing a hard, wooden train at him, I called out the offender's name and looked around for him, but couldn't find him. Finally, I found him already sitting in his time out chair doing his time. I almost had to laugh--he clearly knew he'd done wrong and understood he had to pay the consequences. A few times when I've heard screams coming from the other end of the house, I've come to investigate and there he is-- already sitting in his time-out chair. My only worry now is-- does this form of punishment really work for him? Clearly, he's happy to do his two-minute time-out as long as he gets to hit his brothers. And, the hitting hasn't lessened by any means. He still does it at his will. I'll have to think of something to make his time-outs less pleasant-- perhaps a not-so soft chair? Here he is, ready to launch this Thomas train at an unsuspecting brother's head.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, that sounds like a question for Nanny Jo.

That said, here are my amateur suggestions.

Do you do the follow-up when he's served his time, getting down to his level, telling him his behavior is unacceptable and requiring him to apologize to his brother?

I remember feeling foolish having to say I was sorry and to hug my sibling when I'd offended. Are you doing that/would that help?

I know he's funny, but your laughing doesn't help. I know you know that.

He's somehow not getting the concept that he's supposed to stop hitting/throwing things, etc. Time out isn't a consequence for him.

Maybe you should move him into the kitchen for time outs, maybe round him up to three minutes of sitting? He's not entertaining himself with toys in his room, is he?

Hope these help.

Marsha Ward

Julie Wright said...

we're a family of hugs and say sorry too. It's hard for them to be mad at eachother when they do that. I have no advice, but think it's funny that he understand he's done something wrong. Whatever you choose to do from this point, he'll at least know the right from wrong--that's half the battle.