Friday, October 1, 2010

Time Out on Time Outs

In what can probably only be called temporary insanity, I have placed a moratorium on time-outs.  With three aged 3 and under, someone is pretty much always crossing the line and I was starting to feel like a prison guard.

Don't get me wrong; I am a proponent of time out.  Pepper and Sunshine certainly did some "time" back in the day, and for them, it worked.  However, the amount of time I was spending monitoring this activity suggested that it is no longer working.

There is a difference in the trust level between a child you've had since birth (or nearly) versus a child who is relatively new in your home.  I think they are still trying to figure out if we love them.  What a heart-breaking thing to consider.

So I pulled the proverbial plug.  The final results are not in as this is only Day 2, but it actually seems to be working!  Yesterday, I just took the "offender" aside and spoke quietly  to them about how they had behaved and what was expected.  They apologized and went on their way. 

"The Captain," of course, then needed to discover the boundaries of this new prison-without-walls.  As a consequence, he has been sent away (temporarily, of course) from the table for 2 out of the 5 meals served since the moratorium.  He is usually hungry, so was happy to get his behavior under control so he could return.

The Blitz got physically removed from the kitchen this morning when he insisted on sitting right under my feet, but had a much shorter and less intense fit than usual.  There is apparently no point in having a giant fit if you aren't then going to time out to surreptitiously remove all the books from the nearby bookshelf.  He wailed a minute and then played with the blocks.  He also removed his diaper -- usually a time-out worthy decision -- and I just stuck it back on him with clothes that are harder to remove.  He wailed as I dressed him and even headed to where time-out used to be but when I didn't say anything he turned around and toddled back, looking as if he'd won the lottery.

And Tinker has completely dropped her hobby of taking toys from the boys when she is sure I am looking.  I had a sneaking suspicion she was only doing it to GET to time out and that may have been the case.  As a result, there is a lot less yelling and crying going on.

I've reassigned the little stools to other duty and the children are running amok.  Not really. I am employing "natural consequences" (like leaving the table) when all else fails, but we are all getting along quite well.  Who'd have thought less discipline was the way to go? 

1 comment:

  1. Consider duct tape. Not for the kid. The diaper. I had a notorious diaper remover. It stopped them cold.