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GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT :: Discipline

Time-Out

Guidelines for time-out:

Time-out is a type of discipline that is used to stop a child from performing a bad behavior "isolating" the child for a period of time. Time-out helps establish that the parent is in charge, and allows the child to think about what he/she has done. Time-outs are useful for aggressive and harmful behaviors in toddlers and preschool-aged children.

Where should a time-out occur?

The place for time-out to occur should be chosen ahead of time, not at the time of the behavior. The following are some examples of places for time-out:

  • crib or play pen
  • chairs or corners of the room
  • a designated room

How long should a time-out last?

  • A general guideline is one minute for each year of the child's age. For example, 3-year-olds get 3 minutes of time-out.
  • A maximum length of time for time-out should be no more than 5 minutes.

Placing your child in time-out:

  • The reason the child is being sent to time-out should be explained to him/her in very clear statements.
  • If the child does not go to time-out on his/her own, lead him/her there.
  • Do not spank or yell on the way to time-out.

Stopping time-out:

  • As a parent, you decide when time-out is over, not the child. If the child "escapes" during time-out, restart the clock.
  • Tell your child time-out is over and allow him/her to resume normal activities.
  • Treat the child normally after time-out. Do not lecture again on the behavior.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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