The Right Way to Give a Time-Out
1. Give a warning. When you see that your child is on the verge of losing out, say something like, "I'm noticing that you're raising your voice, which often happens before you hit. If you don't stop, you're going to need a time-out." Chidekel notes that the explanation is important because it helps children become aware of their own triggers.
2. If the pre-meltdown behavior doesn't stop immediately, tell your child he needs to take a break to cool down. Some kids need to be by themselves to get back into balance; others find this upsetting. As for how long and where it takes place, Chidekel doesn't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. While some experts say one minute for every year of age in a room where there's nothing interesting to do, she says the particulars depend on your child. It could be as simple as your child playing away from the action for two minutes in a different area of the room.
3. Let your child rejoin the action when he's ready. When he's calm again, your attitude should be, "Splendid, we're glad you've come back."
4. Praise your child for good behavior. It's important that he knows he'll get attention for behaving well. This means you have to be alert for any sign that he's moving in the right direction.