Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grandma Debbie's Child-Rearing Tip #2: The 3-Step Time Out

by Charles Burton Barber

I used to think that putting my child in a corner was an alternative to a spanking or some other kind of punishment. But just sending a child to a time out is not really tackling the source of the problem; the bad behavior. However, timing a child out can be a powerful tool when used properly. The technique I am sharing today is not original. Some wonderful specialists I work with taught it to me...and we use it often in our classroom.

Today, we'll work with the following scenario:  Your 4-year-old daughter doesn't want to share her toy with Tommy and has just smacked him in the face with her Barbie doll.

Step 1: The Cool Down Stage
 Remove the child (and yourself) from the stressful situation. Studies have shown that when a person is very upset or angry; trying to reason with them is futile. Logic doesn't work with an overly emotional person...(hasn't your husband said that a million times when you've argued?) And they actually can't even hear much of what is said to them when they are in an emotional lather. So it is best to give your child a place and an opportunity to calm down. (You probably need it too.) This isn't the time to send them to their room to watch TV or play video games. Find a quiet place in the house with few distractions where you can keep an eye on them from a little distance away. Make sure the spot has a place to sit and maybe a table or desk if you have it. (If not, no problem.) Send (or carry) your daughter to the time-out space. Sit her down and tell her that she needs to stay there for 3 minutes with her head down on the desk. Make your request clear, calm, and concise.  (Don't yell or lecture at this point...remember, she won't even really hear you yet. ) Set a timer for 3 minutes and go about your business until the timer goes off. (Note: if she gets up, you must return her there and keep her there; even if you have to corner her and the timer doesn't start until she is sitting quietly. Tell her so.)

Step 2: Defining the Problem
After she's sat for 3 minutes go to her and ask her if she is ready to talk about what happened. If she's crying, whimpering or pouting; she's not ready; so set the timer for another 3 minutes. However, if she's calmed down and agrees, you can proceed and you are ready to define the problem with her. Say, "Why are you in time out?" If she says, "I don't know", rephrase the question. "What did you do when you were playing with Tommy?"
Many children will say, "I was bad."  Since you don't want your children to think that they are just plain bad people, you need to clarify that what she did was not nice.
You can do this by discussing what action she did that caused her to be in time out. Sometimes kids are so upset at the time they lash out; they aren't very aware of their physical reactions. So if she says, "I was mad at Tommy," you'll need to make her aware of what she did.

"What were you doing when you were mad?" 
"I was yelling at Tommy because he took my toy."
"What were your hands doing?"
"I was mad."
"Yes, and what were your hands doing when you were mad?"
"They were hitting Tommy because he was being mean."
"Yes, your hands were hitting Tommy."

Step 3: Discussing and Practicing the Correct Behavior
Going on with the discussion...

"Is it OK for you to hit people when you're mad at them?"
"He started it."
"Maybe he did. But is it OK for you to hit people?"
"What can you do differently when you are mad?"
"I could tell on him."
"Yes, you could. What else?"
"I could play with a different toy."
"Uh huh, you sure could. Could you use your words and ask him to leave your Barbie alone?"
"OK, lets practice that. Here's your doll. Pretend that I am Tommy and I just took your doll away. What can you say?"
"Give me my doll!"
"Great! What if he doesn't do it?"
"I can tell you."
"Yep. So  let's try that right now."

I'm sure you can see how the rest of this goes. You practice the behaviors that you'd like your daughter to exhibit when she's upset. End with a big hug and praise for how well she calmed down and figured out a better way to deal with Tommy.

Consistency is key; so always follow the same format with your time outs...the timed cooling down, followed by 'why are you here?' and ending with the discussion about alternative behaviors.

The idea here is to give your child a safe place to recover from their anger; and to give them an arsenal of acceptable behaviors that they can use when they are upset.

Now, isn't that better than just sending them off to the corner to pout?

by Bessie Pease Gutmann

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