5 Alternatives to a time out - simple ideas that really work
Empathetic and effective? Music to our ears
Just like the rest of us, kids go through fluctuating moods and make poor decisions from time to time.
While it's important misbehaviour is addressed from a young age, how you discipline your child can have a lasting impact on them. That's why more and more parents are opting for disciplinary methods that put emphasis on reflection and learning from mistakes.
Here are some alternatives to time out that help your kids learn right from wrong in a more empathetic way.
Take a breather
When your child is in the middle of a strop, they might get more worked up than they even intended. Emotions can be confusing, and children don't yet have the emotional intelligence to always understand why they're angry, frustrated, sad or so on.
Though the intensity of their humour might have you reactive, try de-escalating the situation by practicing breathing techniques together. When they're a little calmer, talk through their feelings and what led them to that point, and why they can't react the way they did.
Earlier bed time
Kids love staying up as late as they possibly can. Sending them to bed a bit earlier will not only be annoying to them, but will give them a chance to reflect on their actions.
If reflection is the goal, a great way to get your child to understand what they've done is to have them draw two pictures – one of what they did, and one one of what they could have done differently. This will help them learn how to make better choices in future.
No screen time
Tablets, phones, laptops, video games – whatever age your child or teen is at, screens probably play a significant role in their lives. You likely already limit their screen time, so the threat of losing out even more should be the nudge they need to cop on. If it isn't and they wind up losing screen time, they can spend that time reflecting on their behaviour while giving a hand with chores instead.
Write an essay
A great one for teens or tweens, writing a persuasive essay is an effective way for them not just to reflect, but to cast away any stubbornness. Here, they'll have to really think through their argument for whatever they were fighting you on. If they struggle with it, it'll be fairly obvious their argument is baseless. If they're able to do it, you'll see why they feel so strongly about the issue at hand and why they think they're right. Learning opportunity all round!