It was just a matter of time. I knew eventually this sweet baby boy would turn into a toddler who would throw his blocks, pull my hair, and dump his peas all over the floor. I knew that where baby ended, toddler began, and I dreaded it.
Now that it’s here, I don’t mind it at all. I love the independence. I love when I find him in a corner of the house, pouring over a pile of books, wearing one green boot, and making zebra sounds. I love how easily he laughs. I love how easily he loves me. It makes my heart explode.
I’ve talked about discipline before, and many of you asked about the logistics of putting a one year old in time-out. I’m here to tell you it’s not easy, but it’s also not that hard. We started around a year old and have stayed consistent. One minute in a child sized chair in the dining room. He can cry as much as he wants, but he may not get down until I come get him.
At first the whole thing was a bit comical. I’d set him down in the chair and he would giggle and clap his hands as Austin and I hid our smiles. But after a week or so, the novelty wore off and now the mention of time-out is often enough to stop him from playing with that dang DVD player (I still can’t find the DVD player remote). He did go through a period where he’d stand up in the chair or try to get down and play, but we quickly put an end to that by simply holding him down in the chair. It sounds worse than it was. Now he just cries until a minute is up and waits for me to pick him up.
You may ask if he understands what’s going on. I don’t know. I like to think so. There have been times when he’s sat in time-out for the same infraction, three times in a row, in a matter of ten minutes. That’s frustrating, but it’s also teaching us patience. He’s learning, that’s obvious, which makes us feel like we’re doing something right.
Other thoughts on time out:
+ We try to pick our battles. Not every misbehavior warrants “the chair.” Natural consequences are always our preference (Example: Dumping out all the bubbles after being told not to results in no more bubbles).
+ After the time-out is over, it’s over. When a minute is up, we briefly mention why time-out happened, but then go back to playing. It doesn’t need to be a drawn out process.
+ Time-out isn’t just for Waylon. I also use that minute to gather my wits and reset my mind to “calm” (doesn’t always work).
+ We’re learning. There are so many mixed messages when it comes to discipline. Theories upon theories, old ways pitted up against new ways. My philosophy is this: Know your child, trust your gut, and treat them with respect.
We’re not perfect, but we’re trying.
What are your tips and tricks for toddler time out?