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Top 5 Strategies for Effectively Using Time-Outs with Grandkids

Time-outs are a great way to send a message to your grandkids that you are not pleased with their behavior and that they need to change it. “For time-out to work, grandparents have to create a positive time-in environment, meaning positive, loving and fun experiences for the grandchild,” says Tom Reimers, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic and author. “As a rule, you should give your grandchild at least three positive comments for every one negative”. Below are five ways to make the most out of giving your grandchild a time-out:

  • Place your grandchild in a location that is boring with no distractions. He or she should experience as close to “nothing” (as in no attention) as possible.
  • A grandchild’s bedroom should not be a place for time-out. Instead, find a location where you can monitor them, but where they cannot watch TV or look out a window.
  • Use a timer. A good rule to follow is one minute of time-out for each year of a child’s age. Don’t start the timer until your grandchild is quiet. If the child leaves the time-out area before the timer goes off, reset it. If necessary, increase the length of the time-out so it is more meaningful.
  • Once a time-out is over, have children correct the action that caused them to be sent to time-out. If it was because they didn’t pick up their toys, have them return to that task. If they refuse, send them back to time-out and start the process over.
  • Don’t take your grandchild’s good behavior for granted. Offer frequent praise for good behavior throughout the day.
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