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Time Out — Reimers

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Time Out

A “time-out” is probably the most often used and maybe the most often misused strategy for managing children’s behaviors. Parents have all heard of a time-out, they've all learned about a time-out and some of them do it really well. But for some parents there's some room for improvement. Time-outs are often misused because time-out is an actually time-out from reinforcement. The technical term for time-out is time-out away from reinforcing or fun activities. The two things that parent have the most difficulty with when it comes to time-out are keeping them in time-out and finding a location that's suitable for time-out.

What typically happens is a parent will send the child to time-out and there's all kinds of things that are happening that do not keep the time-out location as isolated or as quiet as it should be. With time-out nothing should happen and when I say nothing the child shouldn't be able to see what else is going on in the room, they shouldn't be able to talk to others, they shouldn't have others approaching them, and that includes the dog, the cat, and anything else going on in the home. If time-out's going to be effective the child really needs to be spending time by themselves and there needs to be nothing happening. The key is nothing.

So, where time-out breaks down is parents tend to allow the child to either get up from time-out or they have difficult times keeping them there. Parents get frustrated and allow children to go to their room for time-out. Now, if you go to the bedrooms of most children the bed becomes a terrific trampoline and there are all kinds of toys and enjoyable things to play with so it doesn't really become time-out it becomes playtime.