What to do when time-out does not work with your pre-schooler?

What to do when time-out does not work with your pre-schooler?

Time-outs are like punishments to children for their unacceptable behaviour. During a time-out, a child does not get to play with his toys and he has no attention given by his parents. He is just made to sit aloof for a little period of time.

However, there are few kids that do not cooperate with the time-outs. What to do when time-outs do not work? Use alternatives. But make sure you use alternatives that shall only change your child’s unacceptable behaviours and not make your child miserable.

These are few of the alternatives to time-out that are useful to behave your child

Depriving your child’s enjoyment: For instance, it’s a weekend and your child wants to sleep with her mom and dad. Even though you have promised her about it before, you can deprive her of this if she does not obey to complete her supper. Establish exactly what is your child’s most favourite and deprive it if she disobeys you. This can most effectively help you to discipline your child.

mother Warning a child

Warning methods: It’s more like giving negative notifications or reminding your child that he will have to face consequences for any miss-behaviour. Instead of lecturing about it, several times give them a few chances after which they will lose their privileges.

For example, your child has 5 favourite toys without which he can’t pass time; for each mistake, your child does grab and hide a toy. He will gradually understand that it’s getting serious and hence will learn to behave. This method can be very powerful and effective in changing your child’s behaviour.

Fine method: Make a list of miss-behaviours, that your child does and right beside it, write what your child has to face as fine, if he misbehaves in that particular way. For example, if he misses his school he cannot speak with his mom for half a day (speaking to their mom is the most favourite thing for a child) or if he does not brush and eat on time, he won’t get to eat chocolates for three days.

 Giving them household work: This one usually applies to kids that are older than 8 years. If they misbehave, you can punish them to do unappealing household chores. For example, if your child miss-behaves he will have to clean his room and water all the plants in the garden. Most kids hate doing such work, so this can be an advantageous punishment to impose on your child for disobeying.

The one with no punishments:  All kids are not too stubborn. Sometimes, they listen to you when you talk to them. You can drag them out of the situations and tell them how you didn’t like their behaviour. Talk to them politely.

For instance; when you find your daughter fighting with her younger brother instead of lecturing or scolding her, you could just take her out to the garden and talk to her. Say her you love her and that she has to stop fighting and arguing with her brother. There’s no punishment in this method. However, punishing your child was not your intention but to discipline her.

with no punishments

There are few mistakes that parents tend to make during time-outs. They should probably be the reasons why time-outs do not work sometimes. They are:
• Using time-out very frequently
• Forgetting and talking to your children or giving attention to them during a time-out
• Using them for incorrect reasons.

Depriving your child’s enjoyment

Warning methods

Fine method

Giving them household work

The one with no punishments

unacceptable behaviour


Malathi A Ganesh is a B. Com Graduate, NTT, M.A (Lit), PGDEA (PG in Education Administration), PGDCA (PG Diploma in Computer Application), DTE (Diploma in Teaching English), ICEPT (International Certificate in Education Preschool Teaching) from Singapore and B. Ed. She has been in the field of education for the past 20 years and has an experience of running her own pre-school She is the Founder & Director Academics of Smartkidz Educare India Pvt Ltd with 275+ play schools Pan India. She is an Educationist and a Child Psychologists by profession who wants to fulfill her dream of giving Quality Education to children in their earlier years. She is also into conducting positive parenting workshops, which talks about effective child rearing. She has conducted numerous parenting workshops in all her pre schools, schools and MNC’s.

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