Many families use timeouts as the main discipline technique. However, do you know why timeout works? It is because the child does not receive any positive reinforcement for his actions. In fact, while in timeout he receives absolutely no reinforcement either positive or negative for a period of time set forth by the parents. When a child misbehaves the parent should only say that the child is receiving a timeout for hitting or whatever the offense was and the child knows immediately to go to the timeout chair. There should be no discussion or debate over the punishment.
Carrying Out Timeout
Timeout works wonders for children of all ages. And, amazingly, short periods of timeouts are often more effective than long periods. For example, a toddler would receive two to five minutes, a six year old five minutes, and a 10 year old 10 minutes. These are just basic guidelines and you can determine what works best for your children. Also, a double sentence might be incurred for certain offenses and your children should know this ahead of time.
When the child sits in the timeout chair he knows that he has a certain period of time to sit there and there is a kitchen timer set and ticking down until his punishment is over. The timeout area should not be close to a television, radio, computer, toys, books, or anything stimulating. The child is not allowed to talk, mumble, hum, sing, or even tap or bang on the furniture. No talking is allowed at all and the parent should completely ignore the child until the punishment is over. If any of the timeout rules are violated the parent should reset the timer.
If the child resists timeout in any way simply let him know that until he serves his timeout he will not be able to engage in his favorite activity or any activity for that matter. Making it obvious that the short time in timeout is better than resisting and having nothing fun to do anyway will usually get kids to serve their timeout.
Many parents like timeout because it means that they can use the punishment anywhere and at any time. Also, the kids know what their punishment is if they misbehave. There is no physical punishment involved with the timeout so parents cant get carried away in their anger and over punish. Many families find that timeout works very well for children until about 10 years of age, sometime longer. When your kids reach this age you may find another method of discipline that fits this age.