Thursday, July 30, 2009

Timeouts: Who Are They Really For?

I am sure that there are a plethora of experts out there who say that timeouts are not meant for children under the age of two. But, if they met Sarah they might make an exception. Don't get me wrong, Sarah is a wonderful child, bright and incredibly energetic. She's also going to be the next Erik Weihenmayer and likely climb Mount Everest.

Sarah at the very young age of 18 months has exceedingly exceptional ability to climb up slides and all over the furniture a gazillion times despite being asked to come down often. Let's just say, when this blog first began I was on crutches, on my semi-last nerve from having asked for the hundredth time for her to come down off the chair, which I then later dropped on my foot as I moved it out of the room.

So, you can imagine that with a monkey like Sarah there are many times our patience wears thin after asking her so many times to come down off the furniture or to stop throwing her food or cup off the high chair. Sarah now gets timeouts. I am not proud to say that I have raised my voice at Sarah but realize that I am human and she does rattle my nerves sometimes and I may loose my cool.

I have learned that it's important for timeouts to:

+ Be done in a specific spot such as a corner of a room, on a mat, or in Sarah's case, her crib since she doesn't sit still very well.
+ Be about a minute and a half to help her calm down (each minute for the age of your child)
+ Help your child know and prepare them for when a timeout it possible by giving them three chances to calm down and stop the activity.

As Sarah gets older she sometimes stops at one and sometimes stops at two. There have indeed been a handful of instances where when three is reached and she's still not cooperating, in her crib she goes. She doesn't like it and neither do we, but in the end we feel it has worked well to help discipline her or at least calm her down a notch and us as well.

Many times I wonder who the timeouts are really for. We all have bad days and sometimes we do things without thinking or do something hoping to get a reaction. All in all, sometimes we just need a timeout to help collect our thoughts, calm our nerves and settle us back into normal.

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