The Time-Out Chair: How To Make Time-Out More Effective


Parenting has slowly moved from ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ to using the time-out method instead. Instead of instilling fear in the child, the time-out method allows the parent to communicate with their child while disciplining them at the same time.

However, most parents face the same issue – either they can’t get their child to be in the time-out or their behaviour does not improve at all after implementing the time-out method. According to a child psychologist in New York, Mike Fraser, it’s not that the time-out method is not effective – it’s just that most parents are not using the time-out method correctly.

Time-outs are recommended for kids aged between 3-8 years old. The period for a time-out can go from 3 minutes to a maximum of 5 minutes, one minute per year of age. Here are four simple steps to make your time-outs more effective:

1. Countdown before implementing time-out.

Always give your child a chance to correct their behaviour before putting them straight into time-out. Also, be consistent in your countdown. If you always countdown to 5, countdown to 5 at a consistent pace! Do not try to lengthen the countdown by slowing down your pace, hoping your child would correct their own behaviour before putting them in the time-out chair or zone.

2. Make eye contact.

Squat down to their level look them in the eyes. Try to understand and allow them a chance to express why they’re feeling angry or upset before explaining to them what’s wrong with their behaviour. Remember to remain calm. This will help your child to calm down much faster as well.

3. Stick to the plan

After starting the timer, make sure your kid stays in the time-out chair. If your kid doesn’t, exercise patience and bring your kid back to the time-out chair – no matter how many times it takes! Consistency is the key here again. Slowly, they will learn to calm down and stay in the time-out chair.

4. Wrapping it up.

When the time is up, make sure they apologize for their wrongdoings – not half-heartedly, but sincerely. On the parent’s end, you have to acknowledge and accept their apology. Lastly, hug it out!

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