Positive Time Out is Game On!
We have all heard a lot about putting our children in Time Out. Things like “Just send them to a quite space and let them think.” Time Out got lost in translation. Below I will give you the real Time Out. I love finding tools to calm ourselves down, and especially teaching this habit at young age.
Wouldn't it be amazing if you where taught from an early age to be calm under pressure? Begin with: It is OK to feel pressure. I am all about Time Out because yes, we need to reset our brains to think clear and make good choices. Time Outs work for everybody. Today I will give some suggestions of Time Outs that will actually work for your children.
Our job as a parents is to teach. Children at a young age are learning how to control themselves and need solutions that work to calm down and clear the haze of frustration. How can parents help?
My first suggestion: Be proactive. Talk to your children when they are calm. Ask them which activities around the house make them happy or relaxed. Examples: Art, jumping on the bed, reading a book, legos . . . (If your children are very young and can't talk yet create a special space. For example: a corner with pillows, a table with play-dough, art supplies, a corner with stuffed animals, a little trampoline, or soft balls.)
Again, pro-actively talk to them to create this space. Say something like: I notice it is hard for you to calm down. When you are upset, what would make a special place for help calming down? Even if your children are too small to answer, you should talk to them about this. They will understand.
Time Out does not have to be ugly. Children are learning how to control their feelings. It is OK to be frustrated. We don't want children to feel guilty for that. We need to find solutions to help them learn how to control themselves.
Why don't we find a special nice place to calm down and feel better instead of “Go to your room?” To do this, sometimes you have to take it to the next level.
Some children are very sensitive and they have a very hard time calming down by themselves. In this case Parents should go to the special Time Out place with their children. Before a crisis, when your children are calm you should ask: "Would you like to go calm down by yourself or do you want me to go with you?" If children want you to be with them, it probably means they need your support. That is a good thing. Your children want to be with you. They want to know that you are there for them, no matter what. Time Out should build a foundation of a good relationship with your children in the future.
Remember to plan Time Out in advance. Children like to be part of the process. If they suggest the special place, they will think about their Time Out place under pressure. It is hard to think straight in the heat of the moment. If you have a plan and follow through, Time Out will be easier to execute.
Make that special place nice and beautiful (so children want to go). Observe and ask. Say, "I can see you are getting frustrated. Do you need to go to your special place now? Do you want to go by yourself or do you want me to take you? Do you want me to stay with you or do you want to stay by yourself?" At the beginning you will have to work hard. You will have to help them get there and be there until they calm down and engage with the place. Over time your children may be able to go by themselves and enjoy some alone time.
What do you think? Positive Time Out!, or you can change the name as you like. Teaching our children to control themselves and give them tools to learn how to calm down validating their feelings it is very important for their future.
I am excited for you to try this out. You know your child, so I am sure you will come up with great ideas, share in the comments if you tried this and what your special place looks like for “Time Out”. Thanks for reading.