Creating a Positive Time Out with your Child

Creating a Positive Time Out area doesn’t have to be complicated.  Before it is needed and when everyone feels calm, explain to your child that we all have times when we lose control of our behaviour, feel upset, or find ourselves in a bad mood.  This does not mean that we are bad; it just means that we feel too bad to know what kind of behaviour would help us and others.  During these times, it can be helpful to have a Time Out place to sit quietly and wait until we feel better. 

It is important to involve your child in the process of creating a Positive Time Out.  Let him/her create a name for the area.  It may be helpful for them to call the area something to remind them of the positive purpose of time out (ex. The Feel Better Place, The Quiet Time Spot, etc.).  Let your child help design their Positive Time Out area and help them choose things that might help them calm down and feel better such as stuffed animals, books, pillows, soft music, etc.  Involve your child in creating rules for the use of Positive Time Out as children are much more liable to follow rules when they are involved in making them.

Positive Time Out is usually not developmentally appropriate for a child under the age of two and a half to 3 yrs. unless they choose it (which may be very rare) or unless an adult goes with them.  There are of course, exceptions to most rules.

Positive Time Out is one of the many effective Positive Discipline tools.  It teaches the valuable life skill of learning to take time to feel what you feel, and to calm down until you can behave in more constructive ways.  And remember, Positive Time Out can work for us adults, too!

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