When your child does something you do not approve of you may put your child on time out. It is my choice method for disciplining my children. However, have you ever thought about putting their toys on a time-out? True the toy did not do anything wrong. It cannot make your child disobey or be unfair with their siblings. So why put a toy on time-out?
I remember when my oldest kids were little and my husband was often gone on deployments. The kids and I would go and play at parks or go to the library among many other fun activities. We couldn’t and didn’t want to be gone all the time, though. So, much of our time was still at home enjoying the company of each other. I soon learned that the company of each other could develop into a fight over this toy, or that toy… or because one child didn’t want to play with the toy the way the other child did. I knew in order to keep some kind of order in my home I needed a plan.
I would put them on Time-Out! Yep! that was what I was going to do. Surely they would not want to be on Time-Out. I mean it works really well when they are not obeying…so why not try it when they are fighting over a toy.
Hmmmm…..That did not work out as planned.
I would put them on Time-Out and as soon as it was over they would be right back fighting over the same thing again. Then I had the fact that I was the only one having to clean the play room. I would sing the clean-up song and they would help but as time went they lost interest in helping and…well…someone had to clean up. At first I thought that I was just not using the Time-Out correctly or consistently enough.
It seemed that the Time-Out was just not going to work in this area. So, I decided instead of putting them on Time-Out I would make a box and name it the Time-Out Box and put the toys in it. I would take the toy for a determined amount of time.
It worked! I can tell you that they were NOT happy about me taking their toy the first time. There were a lot of tears. They were very relieved and happy when they got it back. At first anyways. I then found that I was having a hard time remembering when I had put a certain toy in the box. I couldn’t remember when they were supposed to come out! I think the kids did too…sometimes they would forget they were even in the box. It wouldn’t be until we went to take one out that we would remember that one went in. Therefore, to save on confusion and to help keep the children excited to get their toys back, I decided that any toy that went in the box would stay in until the 1st or 15th of the month. It didn’t matter when you put it in. Nothing could come out of the box until the 1st or 15th. That was it!
I have to say that this plan worked so well that we soon found we were not having to put anything in the box and one day our box was retired. We did use the box well up into the teen years. You would be amazed at how effective it is to tell a teen they will lose an item if they don’t remember to pick it up!
Now that I have little ones again we are back to using a time out box. My favorite part is there is no arguing, no bribing and they are much happier to clean up their toys. They know the consequence of not sharing, of not picking up after themselves, or not playing correctly with a toy. It also gives them a sense of responsibility.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I know not every situation is going to be the same for everyone. I can help you to modify if needed.
PS. Stay tuned… I will be writing about Time-out for discipline soon.
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