Time out Techniques: 5 Steps to Calming a Toddler's Tantrum

How to calmly and cooly handle your toddler when they do undesirable acts and throws tantrums.

Here's a little advice from one mom to another: I am the proud mother of an overactive, out spoken, fearless, independent and lively three year old.  I assume 90% of three year olds have these characteristics.  Thinking that I am not the only mother out there living with this miniature version of myself, gets me through the day.  From the time she opens her eyes in the morning, she talks, talks and talks.  She is very full of life, herself and anything she can get her hands on.  She has a very curious little mind and asks why probably 100 times a day!  Add in that I also have a 6 week old and you have a recipe for a mother living on the edge.  If it weren't for laughing outloud regularly, I would probably go insane......or more insane, or crazy or to the looney farm.

When I was preparing for the arrival of our latest little addition, I really started cuing in on my daughter's behavior.  I knew that with the little one coming, it was going to be a whole new adventure with my hands, schedule and life filling up quickly.  It seemed as though although "fussing" at her seemed to get her attention and work for the moment, there was no real change with the behavior.  I even tried swatting her leg, her hand, raising my voice, sending her to her room, sending me to my own room.......it seemed that all these did was hurt her feelings and mine as well.  We were going no where and FAST!

I am a huge reality show fan and I love watching "Super Nanny".  I always found myself laughing at the whole "time out, naughty spot" technique.  In my opinion, all time out does is give a child time to decide what they are going to do when they get back up.  But when all my own methods were failing, I decided it was time to try the time out method.  Now that we use it, we won't (and don't have to) use anything else.  Time out can be done anywhere, anytime with any child.  It lets them know you do respect them and teaches them to respect you as well.  My daughter listens more now because she wants to, not because she's being made to do so.  That makes all the difference in my opinion.  One main key is to make sure you keep at it.......it will take some time for you both to adjust to the new methods.  While you are keeping at it, be sure and keep your cool.  And remember to do the steps.....keep at the steps......follow the steps.....and don't give up!

There are a few easy steps to follow to get the job done:

  1. Give a warning for the undesired behavior, action or situation.  You also want to make sure that you talk to your child at their eye level and explain briefly why this is not acceptable.
  2. Upon the 2nd occurrence (in the same day, if you are just starting to address a new issue) place the child in the time out spot.  If you are in public or not at home, the time out spot can be anywhere you see a place to do so.
  3. Remain calm, cool and under control.  Tell your child why there are in time and out and walk away.
  4. The child needs to stay in time out for 1 min per year of age.....my 3 year old stays for 3 minutes.  Anything longer, is inefficient and they don't understand the why and what and will forget why there are there in the first place.  In the event that your child gets up......AND THEY WILL, the time out starts back over.  Do not speak to your child, do not address them, just place them back in the spot--This is the hardest part!  It has taken up to 20 times before with my own to complete a time out.  BUT remember it will and does get easier!!!
  5. After the time is up, get back down to your child's eye level, discuss the unacceptable behavior (do not use the word "bad"), remind them quickly what is good behavior, hug, kiss and go play.

Stick with it! Don't give up and remember to stay calm! It's so important to not tell your child they are "bad" and to not yell at them.


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