Age Appropriate Time-Out

Time-out is a period of time in a less reinforcing environment made contingent upon a behavior.  Age appropriate means that when time-out must be used to stop a behavior, the amount of time the child sits out coincides with their age.  The less reinforcing environment simply means the child is separated from others, usually just off to the side.  The child is still within visual and auditory scope at all times. 


Whenever a time-out is used, a follow-up must be done in order to help the child process the reason for the separation and then provide possible solutions for future use.


When a child has a physical or emotional outburst, the parent needs to provide comfort and privacy. This allows the child to regain composure and insures the safety of others. Time-out should be used only as a last resort, when a child is unable to break a pattern of negative or attention‑seeking behavior. This is not a punishment, nor is it truly a form of discipline. Time out does not teach anything but rather provides a time of renewal for the adult and the child. Of most benefit, it allows the adult time to calm down and focus on providing a solution or lesson for the problem.