Parents ask me a lot about ‘Time Out’. How to do it, for what age, where is best for time out. I certainly recommend Time Out as one of the strategies that you need in your Toolkit for Parenting and dealing with tricky behaviour. However time out isn’t just for the kids! I also use time out for parent s as well. You know those days when you are worn out, the dinner isn’t ready, the kids are starving, you have been up half the night with the baby and your toddler isn’t coping anymore.... well just before you lose it, take a deep breath and realize that it is time for ‘parent time out’. You know, just like they call it in a basketball game... T time out..... take yourself and go and sit on the back step for 5 mins, wait, think and then go back and deal with the situation.
You will find that taking your own time out means that you come back into the kitchen chaos and are then in a far better frame of mind to deal with what is going on. You are likely to realize that being on your knees and negotiating with a very tired and hungry 3 year old is not getting you anywhere and that the situation isn’t going to improve until your 3 year old has eaten. Give them food. Forget the dinner that will be ready soon, soon doesn’t cut it for a tired and hungry toddler. Give them cereal or yoghurt and a banana and quickly move onto a bath, then bed. The situation will not improve until your toddler has eaten and has had a good night sleep.
Tomorrow morning your toddler will wake up, arms out, smile at you and you can simply start again. Time out is a great strategy for parents, you can do it anywhere, sit in the car, on the step, on the toilet, in your bedroom, under a tree in the backyard. We are usually too busy with the thoughts of.... oh I can’t stop now, I have dinner to cook, children to bath, books, teeth and I don’t have 5 mins. Trust me that 5 mins is a great investment in the next 40 mins and how patient you will be and how much more in control you will feel. So feeling frustrated or flustered then think time out for you the parent! Take 5 then try again.