Wow this is a controversial one and one where there are polarised views and conflicting analysis of the evidence. So here I go ....... Time out was never intended to be used when children are emotionally out of control and need the support of an adult to help them organise their feelings as they may not have the skills to do so. Some people refer to these episodes as needing "Time-in" so adults support children to organise their feelings.
Time out is not a practice that is used in early learning settings; rather it is a parenting stategy.
There is an abundance of evidence that supports "Time out" (as an effective strategy) however we should look for the message behing behaviour and offer new more proscial behaviours for children to be successful.
Time out is a non-hurtful and non-violent way to teach a child a lesson about unacceptable behaviours without overwhelming them with negative emotions assoicated with shame ( yellling) or aggression ( physical punishment). It involves the child being removed from reinforcement by having them go to a place that is apart from interesting activities, and other people for a short period of time following high intensity or unacceptable behaviour. Time out should be used as a last resourt when other strategies have been tried ( Baldwin, Mildon, Antcliff, Iannos, 2013).
Time out should only be taught to a parent or caregiver who also uses adequate 'time in' periods with the child.
A child should be in time out for 1 minute per year of age; for example, a seven year old child will be in time out for seven minutes. This practice is not recommended for children under the age of 3 years.
Time out is best used in the context of other positve behavioural strategies. A metaphor that is commonly used is to ensure that you make 6 deposits into a child's emotional bank account ( descriptive praise and noticing prosocial behaviours) before you can make a withdrwal ( in the form of a correction of their behaviour).
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