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“Should I Use ‘Time-Out’?  What do the experts say?”

book-with-doorThe National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) stresses the importance of teaching coping skills to children and therefore concludes that “Time-Out” should be a technique of last resort to be used when a child poses a threat to himself or others.  Additionally, the NAEYC stresses that when “Time-Out” must be used, it should be used infrequently and for brief periods (of no more than 2 or 3 minutes).  The NAEYC also cautions that used too frequently or inappropriately, “Time-Out” may be ineffectual and even potentially damaging to a child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends several options for managing behavior BEFORE resorting to “Time-Out” (including redirecting your child to another toy or activity, remaining calm, and not giving attention to the negative behavior while still showing support to your child, or leaving the room if you cannot remain calm). The AAP also deems certain behaviors unacceptable (e.g., hitting or kicking others, throwing objects in a potentially dangerous manner, prolonged screaming or yelling)—and the AAP indicates that these behaviors may be best addressed via a “Time-out,” where you remove your child from a situation and either hold him or give him some time alone to calm and regain self-control.