While some parents and nannies disagree with the effectiveness of time-out, when it is used properly it can be effective in guiding a child’s behavior. When other strategies for guiding behavior have failed a nanny can place a child in a time-out for one minute for each year of the child’s age, hence a three-year-old would spend three minutes in time out.
Time-outs are designed to safely separate a child from a situation. They force a child to take a break and should be framed as an opportunity to choose to change or stop to think. This separation momentarily suspends a child’s privilege to be involved with an activity, sends a message that his behavior was not acceptable, holds the child accountable for his behavior, provides an opportunity for the child to calm down and reflect on his behavior and facilitates a change in behavior.
Before implementing a time-out the child should have an understanding of what it entails. It should be explained to the child in an age-appropriate way that a time-out will provide him the opportunity to regroup, and that after he sits alone, without playing for the set period of time and is ready to regroup his day can go on.
Putting toys in time-out can also be an effective toy for guiding young children’s behavior. If child throws a doll, the doll can be placed in time-out and returned after a set period of time.