When I student taught in a preschool class of 3 year olds, we were told to never use time out. Instead we were instructed to talk kids through their feelings and help them find ways to problem solve. For example, if one child hit another child or took away a toy they were playing with, we would say something along the lines of "Look at Susie's face. She looks sad. That's because you hit her. What could you do to make her feel happy again?" and then guide the child into saying they were sorry, giving the other child a hug, etc. Now, before you all roll your eyes at me, I do understand that the 'real world' is often different than a classroom setting. That being said, a few other observations I've made that teachers and/or moms use are 'think time', having children use puppets to talk to each other about their feelings when they are having a hard time with confrontation, or writing in a small book or journal. One thing I've always tried to do is tell children what they can do instead of what they can't do. For example, if my daughter is around a younger baby and needs a reminder to be gentle, I try to say something like "Be soft with the baby. Like this..." and show her to touch the baby softly rather than saying something like "Don't do that!" Also, at a professional development given on emotional coaching, we were encouraged to discipline misbehaving children for what they do; not what they feel, when children misbehaved to help them identify their feelings and explain why their behavior was inappropriate, to encourage emotional expression but set clear limits on behavior, and to help children think through possible solutions.
I realize that these ideas can be easier said than done and that different things work for different children and parents.
So, let's talk about it :) ...
- Do you use time out with your children?
- If so, at what age do you think it is age appropriate?
- How long do you have your children stay in time out?
- Is it effective?
- How do you implement it?
- What else do you do to help redirect your children's behavior/discipline?