Tantrums: Does time-out really work?

by on August 18th, 2011 at 7:00 am

All small children experience tantrums – it’s their way of showing a healthy independence. If tantrums are handled properly they shouldn’t become too much of an issue (this is easier said than done when you have a million things on your mind plus a screaming child!). However, some children get frustrated quicker than others, and may resort to kicking and stomping to let you know what they’re feeling, making them especially vulnerable to having frequent tantrums.

Developing a time-out plan

Disciplining children is often a hard and difficult task. While some parents believe that the time-out discipline method is highly effective, others fob it off and say that it simply doesn’t work. Time-out is a discipline technique that is used when a child misbehaves.

During the time-out session that is also seen as a cooling-off period, both the child and adult are given an opportunity to calm down and re-evaluate their thoughts and actions. Children often feel a bit guilty about their actions in time-out and it teaches them to control their emotions. It is extremely effective for children who throw temper tantrums, talk back, become aggressive and display disruptive behaviors such as screaming, hitting, biting, spitting. Time-out is used for children between the ages of two and four years.

Tips for success

In order for this discipline strategy to work, send your child to a time-out area immediately after he or she has behaved badly. The designated area should ideally be a play pen, chair, the corner of a room or their bedroom. Time-out is one minute per age of the child. So, if the child is three years old, he or she will get three minutes in the time-out corner. Your child has to stay in time-out for the required time – you have to be firm about this and not back down!

Initially, do expect problems. Your child may try to get off the chair, leave the corner or not want to stay for the time period. Do what it takes to keep him or her in time-out even if it means holding him or her down. Children are very inventive and will try all sorts of different strategies to get your attention. They may cry, throw a tantrum, yell, even beg you to let them leave. The best thing that you can do is to ignore the child completely, and this means no eye contact or speaking. Use a kitchen timer or alarm clock to set the time and when the alarm goes off, time-out is officially over. At this point, you can ask the child exactly why he or she was in time-out an then leave it at that.

Keep in mind that time-out should never be abused. Never place a child in dark room, closet or any area that may be potentially unsafe. Always make sure that toddlers are within eyesight and not left unattended. Do not use time-out for every misbehaved incident. Some behavior does not warrant a time-out and can be overlooked.

A little natural help

Of course, the best solution is often a natural one that does no harm. For children who struggle to contain their tempers, natural help is at hand. Artemesia Cina can be used to relieve irritability, increase frustration tolerance and prevent temper tantrums, while Chamomilacan be used to sooth frustrated and upset children.


Tula Tantrum Tamer Homeopathic remedy calms tempers, tantrums and restlessness in children

K-OK Kiddie Calmer™ Homeopathic remedy relieves nervousness, worry, shyness and separation anxiety in children


One Response to “Tantrums: Does time-out really work?”

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