Time Out

-Written in late August, 2015; edited in late March, 2016

I have the privilege of playing mommy to 5 kids during the week days.  It really is a blessing, but it also turned out to be quite a hair-brained journey at the beginning.  The hair-brained journey began when Maisy realized a couple of days in that all the girls were seemingly scheduled to invade her home everyday from then on.  She set her jaw and unleashed a fury of tantrums, bouts of screaming, hitting, and throwing… none of which I had ever seen her do even once before.

After coaching Maisy in my usual ways and seeing no change of heart I put my daughter in her first time out ever and my heart was thoroughly unprepared to actually start practicing the art of “time outs” with my 15-month-old baby girl. She cried hard and my heart shattered thoroughly.  Of course I new the day of discipline would come and I thought I was ready for it, but I was not ready for how much it would hurt me.  After a brief stay in her time out pen I went to retrieve her.

“Are you going to be nice now?”

With desperate, tear-stained eyes she answered, “Da.”

We nursed to reconicle and calm down.

It seemed like only seconds later and I was putting her back in time out (though, in fact, it was a half a day later).  She cried and my already fragile heart shattered again.  After some time I went in to retrieve her.

“Are you ready to be nice now?”

With desperate, tear-stained eyes she answered, “Da.”

I nursed my hyperventilating daughter again.  As she nursed I talked.

“Maisy, mommy hates this more than you do.  No part of me wants to.  It hurts my heart badly to have to discipline you like this.  But I do it because I love you.  I hope one day you can understand that.  And I know you probably don’t even understand the meaning of this treatment yet but I pray you do, that you do soon, and that soon we will maybe not have to go all the way to the time out but that you’ll stop being naughty at the mere mention of a time out.  All I want is to love on you and play with you, I can’t do that when I have to discipline you for being naughty.”

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3 thoughts on “Time Out

  1. Check out “No bad kids – toddler discipline without shame”, it’s a fantastic book about discipline without having to do time outs and other traditional methods. Recommend!

  2. At the preschool I teach at we do “safety breaks” instead of time outs. The difference is for a safety break, when the child is putting themselves or someone else in a situation that is not safe they go to (or are put) in a spot away from the situation. They can be given a book or something to occupy them, usually the kids in my class just sit without anything (their choice) and then they decided when they are ready to play safe and can get out of the safety break, whereas in a time out typically they stay somewhere for a certain amount of time. Then we make sure to talk about why they had the break and what they can do differently next time. I think both time outs and safety breaks are good, sometimes you need to remove the child and set a time limit for both them and yourself to handle the situation!
    I hope this helps a little! Good luck!

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