… 10 Alternatives to time out!
So we all know by now that spanking is essentially assault (don’t believe me? Try to hit anyone other than your own child!) No judgment to anyone that has done it, but now we know that it is traumatic and damaging, and at the very least, completely ineffective in the long term.
But for a lot of us the news that time outs are just as bad is relatively new.
So here are 10 things you can do instead of time out:
- Drop your agenda. Are you irritated because your kid is basically just being inconvenient right now, or is there really some essential boundary you must hold?
- Childproof your home. Limit access to age-inappropriate spaces and things. Take a GOOD look at your belongings on a regular basis; even a perfume cap can be fatal for a child older than you think.
- Identify the need behind the behavior. Does your child just really need a nap right now? Let them sleep or give them a break, you may be a grumpy butt when you don’t sleep, too. Are they hungry? Not feeling well? Needing some snuggles from you?
- Play the resistance away. Find a silly voice, be a silly character, do a silly dance, make the job a game.
- Praise the f*#& out of desired behavior. “You walked into the bathroom and brushed your teeth on your own?! Yes!! That’s awesome!! You did it!” Praise ALL of it. LOOK FOR THE GOOD that’s there, not what’s missing.
- Express your feelings and needs and ask them to help you come up with a solution that works for both of you. You’d be surprised how effective this is. Also, use phrases like “let me know when you’re ready” and “as soon as you do X we can do Z”.
- For really young children (6 and under), try hand-in-hand parenting. With a totally neutral, gentle, but firm energy, take your child’s hands and physically walk them through the task they are refusing to complete. This is after repeating the request and asking if they can move their body themselves or if they need you to help them. Make sure the request is something developmentally appropriate and is one of your essential boundaries.
- CONNECT. Accept your child as-is right now. Validate them. When your child has their arms around your neck and is declaring their love, they are going to be far more likely to help you tidy up when you ask.
- Change your energy. Instead of going into battle, set the intention for what you want to happen before you even see your child. Feel them mirroring your awesome behavior.
- Control the conditions, not the child. Keep food you don’t want out of the house, use software to limit wi-fi and electronics usage, etc. Let them develop their own relationship with these neutral things. Model the behavior you wish to see.
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