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Time-In: Gentler and more effective than Time-Out

Written by Lisa

At Cherished Cherubs Babysitting we encourage our babysitters to use time-in instead of time-out when having to guide children. But what is the meaning behind this?

At Cherished Cherubs Babysitting we encourage our babysitters to use time-in instead of time-out when having to guide children.

But what is the meaning behind this?

Sara McGrath, a veteran home school mum of three has written something that sums it all up nicely. You can find it posted here or you can follow Sara’s blog.

 

Time-In: Gentler and More Effective Than Time-Out

Parents and caregivers seeking positive and compassionate alternatives to harsher forms of discipline are turning from time-outs to time-ins.

Time-ins, like time-outs, are promoted as a gentle, effective tool for managing the undesired behaviors of young children. Proponents of both methods claim to help children calm down in the face of difficult situations, but what makes time-in different from time-out?

What Distinguishes Time-In from Time-Out?

 

Time-In

  • The adult invites the child to the time-in place. (However, a child who has lost control and presents a danger to others may need help getting to the time-in place.)
  • Time-in is time together. It promotes a cooperative partnership between adult and child, during which communication remains open.
  • Time-in focuses on regaining peace between all concerned, rather than on right or wrong. It assumes that the undesired behavior feels unpleasant enough in itself without adding to that pain.
  • Time-in is time to regain connection, balance, centeredness, and mutual well-being.
  • Time-in shows the adult’s willingness to help the child. It shows that the adult’s ultimate love and care of the child are unconditional and unphased by any undesired behavior.
  • Time-in is about feeling good. Children are invited to time-in as a positive reinforcement of the adult and child’s caring relationship.

 

Time-Out

  • The parent forces the child to the time-out place.
  • Time-out is time apart. The child is isolated. The adult withdraws attention from the child.
  • Time-out is punitive. There is a shame element.
  • Time-out focuses on right and wrong.
  • Time-out withholds attention (and love, as perceived by the child). It shows that the adult’s love and care of the child is conditional.
  • Time-out is about feeling bad. Children are put in time-out as a negative reinforcement of undesired behavior.

 

Young children regard themselves through the eyes of their caregivers. Giving time-in in response to unwanted behavior shows the child that the adult’s love and care of the child is unshakable. It shows the child that the adult wants to help the child feel better.

Time-outs, on the other hand, perhaps especially those given names such as the “naughty chair,” carry the potential to damage the relationship between adult and child and to negatively affect the child’s self-esteem. A child with poor self-esteem, who feels unsupported or unloved, is less likely to practice mutually desirable behavior in the long term than one who feels secure in his or her self and relationship to caregivers.

– Sara McGrath

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