Many parents turn to spanking when a time-out goes awry. Pete Stavinoha, MD, pediatric neuropsychologist at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, offers these tips for getting the most from time-outs:
1. Before a Time-Out
- Praise your child for good behavior.
- Role-play a time-out (when your child isn't in trouble), so he'll know what to expect.
2. During a Time-Out
- Be firm and in control, not overly emotional.
- Don't give your child any attention -- positive or negative.
- If your child refuses to stay in time-out, try holding her in the time-out until she's calm, without cuddling.
- The time-out should end whenever your child is calm and ready to make the situation right again. A general guideline: one minute per year of her age.
3. After a Time-Out
- Don't rehash the infraction.
- Have your child pay restitution, such as apologizing or completing a task that he should have finished before. Then give him a clean slate.
Natalie Lorenzi, a mother of three, lives in Trieste, Italy.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2006.
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