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What should I do if my child won't stay in time-out?

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What should I do if my child won't stay in time-out?

To get kids to stay in time-out, there are several different strategies that you can use. One is to make sure you have a lot of time available to you because usually when you're starting time-outs and you're trying to train them to stay in the chair, it's going to take a lot of time. What you're going to do is pick them up, put them back. Pick them up and put them back, pick them up and put them back, and keep putting them back. What's important about all this and probably the hardest part with that is to keep time-out as a time when they are away from attention. Parental attention is such a huge reinforcer for kids, even negative attention can be reinforcing to kids. So as we're picking them up, putting them back, picking them up, putting them back, we don't want to give them that attention. With that attention it becomes more reinforcing and more of a game. To help decrease that “game factor,” try to stay disengaged while you are putting the child back into the time-out chair.

It's going to take a lot of time, but if they realize there's no way out of this, eventually they end up staying in the chair. Then after that, once they're in the chair and good and a little quiet for a little bit, perfect. As soon as we get to the point where they are staying in the chair and being quiet, we're not going to wait for that to pass, we're going to jump on it and be like, "Now that you're sitting, staying, quiet, we can get out of time-out." With a few other contingencies on getting out of time-out depending on what their behavior was that led to the time-out.

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