Over the years “time-out” has become a popular way of disciplining our children, but recent studies have shown that it is more beneficial for our children if we skip the “time-out” and other traditional punishments in favour of alternative positive treatments. These alternative scenarios give parents and children a chance to address situations with the intention of maintaining a positive, peaceful and respective relationship.
If you find your child is being disruptive or making unsafe choices like hitting a playmate, for example, take them away from the situation for 5 minutes. Find a quiet space and sit down with them and listen to what your child is saying and try to understand their feelings, then make the appropriate decision as to whether they should continue their play date or not.
- Second chances
Adults often make mistakes just as much as children, granted our mistakes are not along the same lines as putting glue all of the table, but have you ever felt relieved to have a second chance or a do-over? Children deserve the same treatment, so instead of taking the glue off them, ask them if they want to have some paper or would they like to do something else instead.
- Read a story
A great way to help children understand how to make better choices is by reading stories with characters that are making mistakes, having big feelings or needing help to make better choices. Also, reading together can be a really positive way to reconnect and direct our attention to our child.
- Give two choices
Let’s say your child is doing something completely unacceptable. Provide her with two alternatives that are safe, respectful and acceptable, and let her choose what she will do from there. By receiving two choices, the child can keep some control over her decisions while still learning about boundaries.
- Listen to a song
Sometimes taking a fun break to release some tension and connect is all that children need to return to making better choices and all that parents need to loosen up a bit and let go of some stress. Listen to a song or take a dance break!
- Go outside
Changing locations often gives us parents a chance to redirect behavior to something more appropriate. “I cannot let you scale the bookshelf. You CAN climb on the monkey bars. Let’s go outside and practice that instead!”