Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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The term “time-out” is a current term for an age-old concept – taking a break from the action, finding a time and space to regroup and to regain a better sense of self-control. Mostly “time-outs” are overused. When you find yourself pushed to the point of issuing the “time out” ultimatum, for a quick second, raise yourself out of the situation and analyze what your child’s purpose is.

Dreikers says that children have four motives: contact, power, protection, or withdrawal. You can get a clue about the motive by your reaction to the misbehavior. If you’re feeling irritated, there’s a good chance your child is wanting undue attention, or contact. If you’re feeling angry, your child may be rebelling in a struggle for power. If your feelings are hurt by what the child has done (as in dumping soap powder all over the laundry room), the child may have been getting revenge as a false way of saying that she really was feeling the need for protection. If your reaction is helplessness (as in, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do with that child”), it’s possible your child is avoiding facing the issue, or withdrawing, and what you really want is to teach your child to learn to renew himself and come back to face the challenge again. In the three cases of feeling irritation, anger, or hurt, a “time out” might be effective.

In order for the time out to really be useful, understand that a child out of control is the one who most needs the adult’s attention. Although you might remove the child from the situation, you don’t want to abandon the child. Children are only coming from inadequate experience – their feelings are fully formed. Give her some words to understand what’s going on. For example, “I can see you’re having a problem waiting to use the crayons” tells the child what the problem is. “I can help you” indicates who’s in charge, and when the child is taken away from the situation “We can be here for awhile and talk” lets the child know that there is a purpose to the time out period.

Remembering your own emotional periods, it’s just as difficult for the child to talk about the problem in the middle of a disruption. Once she has calmed down, the adult can tell her what happened: “You were taking Tommy’s crayons”. Using short sentences, say specifically what was wrong about that: “You have to wait until Tommy is finished with the crayons.” Then offer a possible solution for a younger child, “You could ride the horse for a while” or ask for a solution from an older child “Yes, you could ask Tommy if he would share.” Knowing your child’s developmental needs and keeping in mind the purpose of time out will go a long way toward making the most effective use of this valuable approach.