July 20, 2010

time out.

 i LOVE time out.
this is one great thing we have done through the years.
it works.

we have a bench.
when kids are fighting and defiant we tell them to go to the bench.
we used to call it the sorry seat.

the little girls count to 10.
if they are still cranky, i have them count more.
if they need help, i count and they copy.
when they're done they say SORRY!!  we hug and they go play with a smile.

my little kids LOVE time out.
when lily does something wrong she often sends herself to time out.
she counts.
smiles and gets down.
if leah gets to sit in time out, lily is jelous and cries to join her.
the most important part of time out is the HAPPY ending.
Hooray!!  You changed!!  You will obey mommy and be sweet!!!  go, have fun!!
do not allow yourself to do the last minute lecture.
do that at the beginning.
end happy.
{note-  i have often known kids who have a hard time apologizing.  i think they feel shame and embarrassment.  my kids are all very quick to apologize.  yes, they do a lot of bad things... but they are adorable at SORRY!! with a smile.  i think this is the way to go.  because, i know that all of us mess up.  we all sin.  a lot.  Satan wants us to hide when we sin.  God wants us to repent quickly and be on our way.  Repentance is a change of heart and it does not need to be an ominous, guilt-ridden thing.  these kids aren't BAD.  just mortal.  and learning.  time out does not need to punish, just distract!!}

my mom used to make my brothers count on the stairs for timeout.  i remember when my younger brother, Aaron went to get his 4 year old shots the doctor was surprised at how well he could count.  my mom laughed- lots of practice.

i had a professor at byu that used to make his kids do push-ups when they were in trouble.
3 of his sons held the high school record for push-ups.
the bigger kids sit for 2 minutes- if they go happily
the time is quickly increased depending on how long it takes them to get to the bench.
if they are crying or throwing pillows while they are sitting on the bench, i don't start their time.
sometimes they sit for 30 minutes.
the important thing to remember is that the bench is not a punishment, it is a distraction.
a place where they can choose to pull themselves together or not.
IF they don't choose happily to go to timeout, then they get sent to their room, for a long time.
or they get grounded or soap in their mouth or i give them an extra job or i make them write "I will talk nicely to my mother" 100 times or i say a really fun thing we're planning to do and how they won't be able to do it with us.
ha!  it is kinda fun to come up with consequences.
although, honestly, my kids are pretty quick to say sorry so i hardly ever get to use them.
my grounded is usually grounded from screens-- computer, game boy, tv.
so, my grounded kids are usually outside.
you can be creative with punishments... i always tell my kids
--you are not in trouble, just sit on the bench and calm down.
IF they won't, they get in trouble.

when 2 kids are fighting they BOTH go to the bench together.
until they can each say what they did that was wrong, apologize and forgive each other.
they choose how long they sit.
{i got this idea from the Eyres-- think Joyschool.  i learned MUCH of my parenting from that family.  i think they call it the repenting bench.}
i'm looking for a soft heart.
i NEVER referee my kids.
i let them referee themselves.
finding what each of them did wrong.
it really works.
if one particular child is really crabby and unwilling to make peace, i'll sometimes say their sibling can get up first.
when crabby child is ready to make amends, they have to find their sibling and have them tell me they are forgiven.

what i love about time out is that it isn't a fight.
i NEVER hold them on the bench.
i just calmly tell them to go sit on the bench.
if they don't go i tell them they can choose 2 minutes or 5 minutes.
if they are disobedient at church, or when we are out... i just tell them when we get home they will owe me some time.
some sundays we have the whole clan sitting for 30 minutes...
making up for the 30 minutes of HELL they put me through during our church service.
 i really like time out.
just sayin'.

 An EDIT for Katie....  she has a 2 year old who screams all through time out.


first-- i would not let a screaming kid off the bench.
i would just leave him sitting until he calmed down.
ignore him.  don't let him see that you are bothered at all by his screaming.
hum, sing, clean the house...
this is one reason why i like counting to 10 for small kids instead of time.
he can scream all he wants, but when he's ready to get up he has to calm down to count.
you ignore the screaming and every now and then ask  "Are you ready to get up?"
if he says yes you say, "Ok, let's count.  ONE." wait for him to say one.  "two".
if he won't count, just walk away.
if he gets off, act surprised.
"Oh No!  We must count before we get down."
just sit him back on the chair and with a smile ask, "Are you ready to count?"
in a happy voice, say "One!..."
When he finally counts to 10 say Hooray!!!  You did it!!  Give him five!  Great job!  Dance...
Are you ready to get dressed now?!!!
it works.  don't give up.
if you can stay calm, he will learn that time out isn't that bad.
i have had MANY beastly children... do not fight them.
pretend you are on a tv show and you are just the happy, sweet mother.
happy on the INSIDE.  let your face show that you are NOT happy with your child's choices.
calmly place him on the bench.  with a disappointed face.
"Oh my.  this is NOT how my good boy behaves."
"You are a good boy.  This is NOT a good choice.  Sit nice and count to 10."
you can be firm and sweet.
If he continues to get down just put him back on and say firmly...
"No.  we do not get off the bench."  look him right in the eye.
"Are you ready to count?"
Firm, sad and disappointed while you are insisting obedience. 
Happy and forgiving when he starts to count.
Children learn a lot from your face. 
NOT ANGRY... sad, disappointed, surprised.
followed by excited, happy, forgiving.

if you remain calm, the bench will work wonderfully for you.
i'm sure of it.

I also like to show little kids what they look like.
So sometime when he's not upset I'll tell them a story.
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jakob of the woods.
He was playing with his toys and his mom wanted him to get dressed.
When she brought his clothes he ran away and said, "NO! I don't want to wear clothes, I want play."
His mommy said, "if you do not obey you will sit on the bench until you are ready to get dressed."  jakob of the woods sat on the bench and he screamed and screamed and kicked his feet, WAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  (really cry and tantrum while your little guy laughs.)
jakob of the Woods was not happy.  was he?
Jakob of the Woods had a friend.
Prince Jakob.
Prince Jakob liked to fight dragons and climb trees but before he could go outside his mother told him he had to get dressed.  Prince Jakob wanted to keep playing with his toys and he said, "No mom, i don't want to get dressed now."  His mother sent him to timeout.
Does Prince Jakob cry and scream in time out?
Nope!  he says "OK mom.  I'll count to 10."
He sits and he counts and he is happy.
then he gets dressed and goes out to ride horses and slay dragons.
Prince Jakob is happy.

If he is a young 2 I might save time out for hitting or defiant behavior.
I would probably distract him if he is fighting getting dressed.
And, he might be a little young for Boy of the woods stories... unless he's an older 2.
I start with shorter stories.  You can use a baby doll if one is close by...
With my almost 2 i do things like... if she screams when i say it's nap time...
"Lily,OH MY!  why are you screaming? {act shocked}  silly.  you talk nice."
"Momma it's time for bed.  NOOOO BED!!  WAHHHH!   WAHHHHH!" 
she laughs.
i say, "no, we don't scream."
"Lily, time for bed."
"OK!  Love you momma.  Night Night."
"NOOO!!  WAHHHH!"  she laughs 
"Night Night momma.  Love you."
"See?  You are a good girl."
Honestly, she will just laugh and lay right down to sleep.
When you show them the difference they laugh and understand and they think about it next time.

This may sound stupid to you, but it really works.  I do stories for A LOT.
with my 3 almost 4 year old we play pretend.
I say, "You are the mommy and I am Leah of the Woods."
I tell her to send me to bed.
Then I pitch a royal tantrum.  I use every excuse... I need a drink, I have to go potty, i'm scared....
She laughs.
Then I say, "I'm the mommy, you are Princess Leah."
"Time for bed dear."
She says, "Ok Mother, I will obey."
I smile and tickle her and tell her what a beautiful, obedient, happy child she is.
"Why are you so good?"
We do this roll play A LOT!  For sharing toys, eating food, sitting reverently at church, staying in bed, etc.
teaching is better than consequencing. 

good luck!  and, don't worry...  he'll grow out of it!!
HA!!  i don't claim to be an expert.  but i do have experience.
maybe time out doesn't work for everyone.
but, i do think it can work for everyone IF you can do it calmly.
as a distraction, NOT a punishment.
and, i'm a dork.
i have to laugh that i'm actually telling people about my silly stories.  but, they do work!!


Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

I only have 1 kid, a 2 year old, and we do timeouts, but we have a hard time with it. Usually we do timeout when he's being uncooperative - won't get dressed, etc. And most of the time, if I threaten it, he immediately cooperates! But, if he does go to timeout, he will usually scream the entire time, and sometimes even after the timer goes off, he screams.

So how did you start it with your oldest? I'm sure the younger ones have watched the big ones in time-out and know how it works, but what about my 2 year old?

Another note - my mom used to make my sister and I sit next to each other holding hands when we fought. eventually we'd giggle and be done. :)

beckyjune said...

This is such a good post, Jen. I really need to print it out and tape it to the wall as a reminder to myself. I think I am better at consequences and need to be better at calmly teaching. Thanks for the reminder :)

LAURA said...

love it, I really need this advice!

Marie said...

Oh, Jennifer... Where WERE you when my 24 yr. old son was a little guy? ;)

Teachinfourth said...

My friend's mom tied her and her brother to a chair and made them sing, "Love at Home" until they could be nice to each other. It worked, too. Instead of hating each other, they both started to hate their mom…

She was willing to take one for the team.

Lavon said...

We had an interesting kindof time out. When we lived in California if you did something REALLY REALLY GOOD in class you were honored and rewarded by getting to eat lunch with the teacher. ...then we moved to Pennsylvania. Julie was in 6th grade there and I can't remember what she did but something that got her in trouble and the punishment was she HAD to eat lunch with the teacher!

Her teacher couldn't stop laughing when Julie told her that was an honor and reward in California. Julie looked forward to eating lunch with the teacher after getting in trouble and they ended up having a really fun lunch together. :)

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