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How do you explain time outs to a 2 year old?

I think it's about time to use time outs. I don't think discipline without reason or explanation is effective or fair though. How do I tell my toddler that she will have to sit in time out when she does something she isn't supposed to? How do you word it exactly? I know consistency matters but she doesn't misbehave often so how can I teach it without using it all the time? What do you use for time outs? Is it ok to use a seat belt to a stroller or something similar so they can't run away? Is that cruel?

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:01 PM on Dec. 9, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (7)
  • I'd put her in time out, tell her she will stay there for 2 mins (1 min per/age) and then once she is out explain why she was put there and tell her what you expect of her. Consistency does make a difference, if you do it everytime she misbehaves that is being consistent regardless of whether she misbehaves every few minutes or once every couple of months.
    You do not want to buckle her into a stroller or buckle her in at all. That is a bit too much IMO at 2 years old she is old enough to understand when you tell her to either sit in a chair or stand in a corner without getting out. If she gets out you keep putting her back and resetting the time. She will get it, I promise.

    Answer by AngeLnChainZ at 7:04 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • Yeah I wouldnt strap her in either. Try holding her in a corner and turning your head. After a few times, she will prefer sitting there still as opposed to being held down. When you first sit her down, say a firm "no" and briefly explain that this behavior is not acceptable. Dont over explain because it wont do any good. When time is up, say "you were in time out because ____."

    Answer by LovinMyMikayla at 8:02 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • if she gets up and runs away let her know you are serious with the tone you use and just keep sitting her down in her time out spot. she'll get really mad, but it'll pay off.

    Answer by seej at 8:57 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • I had the same problem with my dd who was 2 yrs old...she really didn't do much to put her in time out...probably once a week. Now at 28 months it more like once a day LOL ....but when you do put her in time out get down to her level and place her in one spot that you will always use for time out, explain to her why she is there...since your just trying it out I would do 30 seconds or a minute....if she keeps getting up keep putting her back and explain what youre doing. Tell her she has to sit there for 30 seconds...each time she gets up it starts over. I usually use our oven timer and tell my dd she can get up once it beeps. She is now just getting the hang of it...I used to dread time outs bc they ended up being a 45 minute time out bc she would go nuts!! Also once she completes a time out ...remind her why she was in time out or ask her why...and then I usually make my dd apologize to me or her little brother.

    Answer by MrsPilat at 12:24 AM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • let her know she did something that was bad and she now has to sit quietly for a minute as punishemnt. It may take awhile (ever watch Super Nanny) to get the idea down where she understands but stand your ground.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 8:13 AM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • i started doing occasional time outs with mine before they were 1 1/2. they're really good kids, so they don't get them often. when they do something that warrants a time out, i usually give them one warning--"no hitting. if you {hit sissy} again, you'll get a time out." then, if he/she does it again, i kneel down to look them in the face and say "get in the corner. you're getting a time out for {hitting sissy.}" they usually run to the corner...if they don't i put them in the corner and say "stay there." then i leave them for approximately two minutes. when you do it at first, it helps to leave them there until they cry (up to three minutes only), so they realize it's something they don't want to do. then, after two minutes, i kneel down and say "turn around and talk to mommy." they turn around and i say "you got a time out for {hitting sissy}--you DO NOT {hit sissy}." then i say "i love you" and give them a kiss.

    Answer by tstep972 at 12:51 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • sorry, ran out of space. anyway, when i first started, sometimes i had to hold them facing away from me and into the corner so they'd get the idea. never talk to them during the time out. then, one day, they just understood and stayed in the corner when i told them to. CONSISTENCY is the key! i never change the wording or anything, and i never threaten a time out unless i'm going to do it if the bad behavior continues. it really works!

    Answer by tstep972 at 12:54 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

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