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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Alternatives to Timeouts
CeriBear 08:06 AM 02-10-2019
Does anyone else think timeouts are not the best way to solve problems? I thought we could talk about other ways we deal with behaviors that are not appropriate besides sending a child to timeout.

I prefer to talk to the child and redirect. If Johnny throws a block in the block center then I tell him blocks are for building not throwing and he loses the privilege of playing in the block center for the rest of the day. If Jenny pinches her friend in the home living center then she must sit at a table and play by herself for a while. If Jimmy runs from the lunctable to the door he must go back and use his “ walking feet.” If two kids are messing around at lunch and playing with their food I take their trays to two separate tables and make them eat by themselves.

I tend to use a traditional time out only as a last resort or when redirection has failed to work.
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CalCare 08:56 AM 02-10-2019
Hi! I definitely see the trend for the last few years has been to find alternatives to time outs. I don't use time outs, but there have been times when I have separated one child away from the group as they are pushing a lot of buttons (and boundaries!)... That could be considered a time out by some. I think every teacher or parent is different and every child is different and perhaps sometimes people need a consistent method like that, that they can just use as a tool to make everyone safe and get everyone on the same page.

I think your examples are interesting. I wouldn't react the same way you did, in any of those scenarios. Throwing blocks, I would normally tell them it's not safe; "you can't throw blocks, if you continue to be unsafe with the blocks, you will have to find some other activity". Then if they did something again, tell them to find something else to do and if they refuse, ask them if they want to move their own body away from the blocks or if they need "help". If they refuse, tell them I am helping them move to something else and go towards them to pick them up or hold a hand to remove them. They will almost always just start walking away before getting picked up or hand held.

Pinching, I would ask the victim if they are ok, do they want an ice pack, have the pincher "check" on the other child to see if they are ok and see if they need an ice pack (obviously no one "needs" an ice pack in these situations, but this is how we make people see we care and want to help). Then the pincher tries to help them or not. Then the pincher hears how it hurts the person and that I won't let them hurt people. I always tell them that if they are unsafe again they will have to find something else to do etc. Also I would be asking what led up to this point if I didn't see it. If they both wanted a toy, they need to go over how to negotiate that situation instead of saying, "time out for pinching!" And being banned and they don't learn what they are supposed to do when they want a toy. I almost always say the facts first, "you both want the toy. What can we do?... You had the corn and Jenny want the corn.... Is there another corn? No? Jenny, you can ask if you can use it when she's finished... Oh she can't use it when you are finished ..hm..." Etc giving ideas, asking them to give ideas, and pausing so they can think of something. Often my other kids jump in and say, "I have an idea! She can play with a horse!" Or something kind of random and a lot of times those random ideas help them! Seriously! They will take another child's random suggestion, and everyone gets super happy to have sorted it out.

For running, to me, everyone is different, I know... I wouldn't make someone go back and start over. That seems punitive for just forgetting and being excited. I would just tell them it's not safe to run in the house. Then I almost always tell them about the girl that ran and hit her head on the corner and it was a huge red bump, like, it looked awful, and it hurt really bad. They love to hear the same story Repeated.

So anyway, those are some ways I handle things that are different than time outs. Usually I guess for me, I'm not trying to punish, I'm trying to give them the words and questions to ask themselves, and ideas for what to do in the future when these things come up. And, that's why I don't see a use for time out. Since simply automatic separation to be alone doesn't provide any opportunities for growth. It can work as a behavior conditioning. That's why people use it. Because children can learn that once they make choice A, they go straight to time out, and then don't make that choice anymore. But I would prefer to teach them how to think about conflicts and how to listen to other kid's needs in a conflict and how to resolve it.

Granted there are two different types of situations we are talking about here: conflicts between children and unsafe behaviors. Some safety behaviors, just have to be plan A'd, automatically reacted to for safety, and then go over it. I'm not going to let a child run full speed through the house without physically stopping them. But I don't make them go back and walk.
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Blackcat31 08:23 AM 02-13-2019
Originally Posted by CeridwenLynne:
Does anyone else think timeouts are not the best way to solve problems? I thought we could talk about other ways we deal with behaviors that are not appropriate besides sending a child to timeout.

I prefer to talk to the child and redirect. If Johnny throws a block in the block center then I tell him blocks are for building not throwing and he loses the privilege of playing in the block center for the rest of the day. If Jenny pinches her friend in the home living center then she must sit at a table and play by herself for a while. If Jimmy runs from the lunctable to the door he must go back and use his “ walking feet.” If two kids are messing around at lunch and playing with their food I take their trays to two separate tables and make them eat by themselves.

I tend to use a traditional time out only as a last resort or when redirection has failed to work.
I rarely use time out.
I tend to use a 1, 2 3 method of guidance so that I don't have to use time out.

#1 is Remind. I remind the child of the rule.

#2 Warning. Child is warned he is breaking a rule and going to receive a consequence if behavior is not self-corrected.

#3 consequence. Child needs to find an alternate activity if behavior is not corrected or is repeated.

It works well for me as it give kids a change to re-group and self-correct verses an immediate consequence.

I don't believe time outs work and I don't think the kids learn anything from it. If they do, it is usually a negative aspect but for the most part I don't think time out is useful other than needing to put a child in spot you can supervise them and/or keep them safe for a minute while you tend to someone/thing else.

IMHO, time out in early childhood is similar to jail or prison in adult life. It doesn't teach anyone anything and offers no alternative behavior. Just confinement. Hence why there are so many repeat offenders....
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Pestle 01:28 PM 02-13-2019
There are some things I do similar to time out, but not as a punishment.

When a kid loudly announces that "I NOT CLEAN" they have to wait with no activities while everybody else works together to get the place tidied up. If you opt out of cleaning, you opt out of getting to socialize with the kids who ARE cleaning and you opt out of wrecking the room with toys as the rest of us clean up.

When a kid hits another kid or hits me, they go over the nearest gate/into the nearest playpen/onto the nearest chair for a minute so I can attend to the victim or say "Oh, no. I am so sad. Mister Billy hit me. We do not hit. That hurts." Then they don't get access to the person they hit for a while.

When a kid is having big feelings that manifest as screaming/crying and they don't want to be comforted, they get to be as loud as they want . . . in the Quiet Corner. They cannot come out and follow us around while hollering.

Everything else is redirection and trying to get ahead of known problem behaviors with positive reinforcement and modeling of replacement behaviors. Does it work? Sometimes . . . eventually. Find me a formula that works every time on every kid and you'll put all the behavioral gurus out of business.
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CityGarden 02:42 PM 02-13-2019
I really like this Positive Time Out book by Jane Nelsen


I typically remind them (which is also the warning), then there is a natural consequence.

In example if a child is throwing sand I will remind the child sand is not for throwing, it is for building/digging/playing etc. if they throw sand immediately again then they will have to play in another area without sand.

We also have a peace place ----- this is used very different than a traditional time out as it more a calm down spot with the goal of them taking themselves there when they start to get a feeling like they need some space. It is a dreamy space in a corner with a canopy, twinkle lights, fuzzy rug, small chairs and books and "clean art" materials sometimes. At the start of the year I will often encourage kids to go there when I feel it is needed but by mid-year they all tend to go on their own. It is limited to only two kids at a time so it is a peaceful place for them to calm themselves or have some space. One key aspect is they can go there and leave there when they feel ready!
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hwichlaz 10:18 PM 02-13-2019
Originally Posted by CeridwenLynne:
Does anyone else think timeouts are not the best way to solve problems? I thought we could talk about other ways we deal with behaviors that are not appropriate besides sending a child to timeout.

I prefer to talk to the child and redirect. If Johnny throws a block in the block center then I tell him blocks are for building not throwing and he loses the privilege of playing in the block center for the rest of the day. If Jenny pinches her friend in the home living center then she must sit at a table and play by herself for a while. If Jimmy runs from the lunctable to the door he must go back and use his “ walking feet.” If two kids are messing around at lunch and playing with their food I take their trays to two separate tables and make them eat by themselves.

I tend to use a traditional time out only as a last resort or when redirection has failed to work.
How's that not a time out?


If you hit, you sit. Otherwise I do what you do, redirect or have them fix the problem.
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Josiegirl 02:42 AM 02-14-2019
Other than duct tape and velcro, I've got nothing.

I know TO is frowned upon by the professionals now. And depending on each child, it isn't a highly effective tool. How many of us have had dcks who yelled/screamed/jump out of the chair and run off/all kinds of other irritating actions that drive us nuts?? But I've found schools and providers use different terminology to describe the same thing. The thinking chair. Take a break. To me there's no difference.
I definitely try redirecting, talking, empathy and kindness, role modeling, separation, consequences(taking books away if they're ripping them or blocks if they're throwing them)saying if you do this then this will happen, the 1-2-3 method. And all of that only goes so far. I used the 1-2-3 yesterday when dcm came at 5:00 and ds ran off into the other room, even though he was all dressed and ready to head out the door. I followed him and asked him to come back with me, he refused so I told him he could choose to walk by himself or I was going to count to 3 and pick him up and bring him to dcm. Of course he refused so I carried him back, kicking and screaming. I watched dcm start counting to 3 yesterday and she went 1-2-2 1/2 Jeez mom, just do it. Kid'll play you as long as he can. We talk about bad choices versus good choices. When I've got a toddler hitting repeatedly, they are put in a PnP with books to quiet themselves, break the immediate cycle and keep the others safe.
It all depends on the individual child, what will work and what won't.
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Blackcat31 07:03 AM 02-14-2019
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
It all depends on the individual child, what will work and what won't.
This! ^^^

No matter what method a provider or parent uses, the above statement is key for effective results.
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Ariana 07:35 AM 02-14-2019
If sitting out is a currency for a child I use it. Otherwise I do natural consequences such as removing from an area like sensory bin, taking away a toy etc. most of my behavior management comes before behavior happens by giving expectations and consequences for not complying. “ I am opening the sensory bin, if anyone removes material from the bin you will have to play somewhere else”. Then follow through. Kids know I am serious about consequences so they listen right away.

If a child is being violent I remove them, sit them down and give a stern warning.
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CeriBear 08:54 AM 02-20-2019
I tend to make a child who hits, kicks, or pinches go and sit by themselves for a few minutes but I don’t call it a time out. I always try to explain to the child why they are being removed from the play center instead of just making them go sit. I explain the rules of each center before opening them and we talk about the rules from time to time. My kids know the rules and are aware that breaking them will have a consequence. Usually it is simply being removed from the particular center and asked to go play elsewhere.
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Hunni Bee 01:09 PM 02-20-2019
Alternate activity/loss of privileges.

Sometimes it's "choose a different center". Sometimes its the activity of my choosing. Sometimes its the same activity everyone else is doing, but in a different area. It all depends on the offense and the child.

I had one that was purposely disrupting Morning Meeting this morning. I gave 2 warnings, then he could hear the super cool book we read, but at the table and behind me so no pictures, and it was so fun no one heard his angry yells of "I wanna come back NOW". Sorry, pal.
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Tags:discipline - positive, escalation, punishment, punishment - alternatives, redirection, time out
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