Tired of holding the bedroom door handle closed when your child is trying to leave during his time-out?Tired of your child trashing his room during time-out?Tired of not getting your child to calm down and think about restitution during his time-out?


Perhaps itís time to re-think the way a time-out is used.Some parents use a time-out for punishment and it often erupts into a power struggle.Ideally, a time-out should not be a punishment, but instead, a calming down strategy for an upset child.Adults often take time-outs for themselves when they are angry and frustrated. They go for a walk, blow off steam at the racquetball court, or just stay in their rooms and listen to a soothing piece of music.†† The time-out is a useful skill to teach your children, but the way that it is used is a big factor in achieving the results that you desire.The Parent Directed Time-out is used as a punishment.†† If you want a great way to calm down children, focus them on their actions and restitution, and connect the parent-child relationship, try the Child Directed Time-out.Here are five differences between the two types:


Parent-Directed Time-out

Child-Directed Time-out

Used as a punishment.

Used as a calming strategy.

Send child away for a certain number of minutes per year of age.

Suggest the child take a time-out.Let child decide when heís calm enough to start problem solving the issue.

Give the child nothing to do and instruct the child to ďthinkĒ about his actions.Often, the child is really thinking about his anger, the unfairness of the situation and/or how to retaliate.

Give the child tools to suit his learning style, while he sorts out his feelings:

auditory learner: soothing music

visual learner: paper and markers

kinesthetic learner: lego, ball.


Parent requires child to be alone.

Ask child if he wishes you or another adult†† to come and talk with him.An extroverted child may need a sounding board, whereas an introverted child may need solitude.


Parent decides location such as chair, bedroom or corner.


Child chooses location such as bedroom, special fort, going for a walk, or even the basketball hoop.



Donít get into a power struggle!Remember the benefit of parent time-outs for yourself to control your anger. Stepping back from a power struggle doesnít mean the child ďwinsĒ.It means you are mature enough to take a self-imposed time-out and calm down.Isnít that what ultimately, we want to teach to our children?Donít forget to come back and problem solve the original issue when both you and your child are calmer.

The best time to discuss the child directed time-out with your child is not in the heat of the moment.Do it during a neutral time.Observe how your child calms himself and ask for his input.Welcome the connection in your relationship!