Time Out Vs Time In

Time-Out v/s Time-In

What Is Time In?

Simply put, time-in is taking a break from a given situation to refocus and involves having a child sit quietly in the same room with a parent. This can be done with your child in response to challenging behavior without resorting to punishment tactics. 

In essence, you want to ensure that your child understands their feelings are valid and that you're there to help them work safely and healthily. Addressing the misbehavior, as well as listening and understanding why they acted, are both equally important. 

What Is Time Out?

Time Out is a form of discipline that most of us are familiar with. Time Out involves removing yourself or the child from the situation. In its simplest form, it requires children to take a break from a situation if they have displayed challenging behavior. The goal is for them to take this time to reflect on their conduct and figure out how to handle their emotions without resorting to negative actions.

How to Perform Time In and Time Out

The key to making time in and time out work is preparation. When introducing the concept of time in or time out to your child, explain why taking some time apart is essential and why it could be a good thing. 

To create a successful time-in:

  • Choose an appropriate place for you both—a spot on the sofa, the kitchen table, or outside if that works better—where you can sit down calmly together.

  • Remind your child that they are loved while also setting limits. Use "I" messages such as "I want us both to stay safe."

  • Show empathy and understanding so that your child feels heard.

  • Resist being drawn into arguments or power struggles.

  • Use problem-solving skills - brainstorm solutions together.

To make sure it's successful:

  • Choose an appropriate place for Time Out. This should be away from distraction yet not secluded or isolated (e.g., not in the closet)

  • Explain why they must get some space, such as taking "time out" to think about what happened before talking further.

  • Set a specific amount of time with clear consequences—for example, five minutes without electronics or toys – and stick to it!

  • Stay close so they know.

Challenges During Time In and Time Out

In both situations, challenges can come in like:

  • During the time-in, your child might refuse to stay put. When this happens, it's paramount to stay calm and use positive language to encourage your child to stay put: "I know you don't want to be here right now, but we need to take a moment together. I'm here if you need me."

  • Time-out challenges are different; you might have trouble redirecting your child away from destructive behavior. Try saying something like: "You know that throwing your toys isn't safe. Time out will help you remember. Let me know when you're ready and can keep all four feet on the ground, and we'll finish our conversation."

It's also important to note that you should never force physical contact; this could create an unhealthy attachment between parent and child. Instead, gently explain why they need some alone space before speaking with them again when calm.

To sum up, time in and time out can be effective when used correctly and appropriately, depending on your child's age, behavior, and needs. When done correctly, this will help to build connection and trust. However, when used too often or for the wrong reason, it can lead to more challenging behavior.


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