Time-In Guidelines

I like time-ins. This discipline technique, which is vaguely related to time-outs, focuses heavily on coaching the better behaviors. Let’s say your four-year-old snatches a toy from a playmate. During a time-out, your child would sit in a spot alone for a ballpark of four minutes with the withdraw of attention expected to help curb the behavior. During a time-in, your child would still be out of play, but the four minutes would be a productive time. For as many minutes as the child is old, you coach them. In the case of grabbing a toy, you might list all the ways he could ask for a turn, role play asking each other for a turn, give a brief puppet show with a positive outcome or draw a picture of it going nicely. This is not a time to harp on the negative, but rather to teach the positive. Time-ins do take a bit of creativity, but can be worth the effort.

Please give it a try, and let me know how it went!

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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