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.

Teach or punish?

Punishment punishes, It does NOT teach.


  • If we don't punish the children, they don't learn

  • If we don't punish them, they don't think about their mistakes

  • If we don't punish we lose authority as parents.

Some of us grew up with the Myth that if we don't pay for what we did wrong, we won't  learn.

There is a price for good behavior, but in the early years it is paid by the parents, not the children. Why should children have to feel bad about their mistakes? Who said that our roll as a parents is to suppress instead of teach? 

Children are growing and learning how things work in their environment. We have to give them opportunities to make mistakes. Mistakes help them to learn, and think about solutions. In the chaos of the screaming and the crying and spaghetti sauce on the wall, we must model how to do it better next time, and then show our children we are there to support them.

 If a child makes a mistake she probably wasn’t paying attention.  

The solution is not to make them feel even worse. Isn’t it enough just to feel bad for our own mistake?

When we make a mistake we need to find solutions - not feel guilty about it. Children are the same. Children are very smart and the consequences of their mistakes are enough to teach them.

When people make us feel bad for our mistakes we feel shame and insecurity. We start to feel guilty, reproach ourselves  and focus on the bad instead of the positive.

These are behaviors that grow with us and start to form as habits in later years.

I don't think that is the pattern we want for our children. We want resilient adults who think about solutions  - not dwell on problems. We want adults who see mistakes as opportunities to learn instead of creating low self-esteem and feeling guilty for what they did wrong. 

Punishment can work in the moment, but to what long-term effect? All our children are big leaders, persistent and intelligent. They are going to find a way to do what they want with or without our consent. 

So, what is what we want for their future? Do we want teenagers who hide their actions from us? Who make decisions from a place of fear? Do we want teenagers who are making mistakes and feeling guilt with no compass or adviser? 

Or do we want teenage leaders with good self-esteem and guided by people that love them and respect them no matter what?

As adults our responsibility with the children is to guide, and teach, not reproach and punish and push down.

By punishing, we are teaching a behavior. 

Instead of punishing, take time to communicate and teach a different behavior.