Time Outs

The time-out has been an endearing means to deal with a child’s energy and misbehavior. However, when acknowledging that children need to be emotionally connected to their parents, a contradiction arises within this time trusted parenting tradition. As such, time-outs can leave children feeling excluded while not understanding exactly what they did wrong. This serves to confuse rather than educate children. Instead, holding a “time-in” can help rectify unhealthy behavior while not alienating the child. The time-in helps children access their rational capabilities- to think about their behavior and understand why they need to calm down. Similarly to the time-out, the time-in removes the child from their frenzied mindset into a space for solving the problem at hand.

Alternatively, instead of completely leaving the child alone and puzzled with their own thoughts, the time-in allows the child access to a parental figure to effectively support and mitigate their behavior.

Cool Down

For many people calming down is a useful life skill. Removing children from the situation to be at ease, and being with them during that time can aid them in getting their emotions under control. Seeing as kids are unable to do this on their own the time-in is superior to the time-out in that children can truly calm down while addressing the situation with the help of a parent. Sending children to their rooms has been likened to serving “jail time”, which in the adult world has been argued to be ineffective at correcting behavior. Taking the analogy of a car engine, when there is a high rate of energy being expelled over a long period of time, the vehicle will begin to run ineffectively and a breakdown is imminent. The engine needs a cool down by which it operates at a much lower rate while still serving the essential functions. Children operate the same way. Periodically cooling down while still serving the essential function of social beings (communicating), will serve their functional needs as healthy human vessels well into the future.

Little boy in trouble.

Exercise Patience

In parenting, patience is a virtue so displaying control over one’s own emotions is the key for rectifying a child’s emotional misgivings. Testing limits and boundaries are part of children’s nature, and a crucial aspect of their development into healthy adults. Therefore a parent should be emotionally prepared to endure this aspect and deal with what really matters; the healthy development of the child. In this case, what works for adults also works for children.

People respond well to patience and mutual respect or care when solving interpersonal issues and this maxim is no different when dealing with children. Thus, creating a comfortable time-in spot is crucial for upholding the universal reception of genuine care and affection. As such, a comfy couch with blankets to snuggle in makes for an effective remedial session.

Child sitting in the corner for a time out.

Talk it out

Making a solid connection with children is essential for a successful time-in. Therefore, parents should be sure to communicate exactly why and what caused the time-in. While explaining this to children parents should also take the time to actively listen and constructively engage with their children during this time. In this way children will have the tools and the knowledge to solve their own problems. Connecting with children is the key for their formation of a solid basis by which to regulate their own behavior and craft a sound moral compass. Thus, refraining from excluding children truly pays off when children grow up. They are prepared with the number one tool, their mind, to solve problems on their own.