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How many of you agree that time outs or spanking work for a 23 month old child?

I posted a question about help getting my son to listen to me, or how to appropriately punish him. I was surprised to see that all of my 10 responses suggested spanking or time outs. Their suggestions were to hold him down for a few minutes, or put him in his crib. I do not agree with those suggestions, I honestly don't think he would understand why I was forcefully holding him, and putting him in his crib would make it a negative place for him. I'm not against spanking, if the child is old enough to understand the punishment AND responds to it. How many of you agree with time outs for this young age, or spanking?

I know we've entered the terrible twos, that's for sure....but I NEVER want my frustration to come through when I punish him, I want him to learn from his actions and most importantly, from mine.
Thanks for taking the time!

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Asked by Julians_Momma at 8:27 AM on Apr. 26, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 7 (157 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • Holding a child down or putting them crib as punishment is not time out. Time outs can start just fine at 23 months. You either get a chair that you designate as a time out chair or a spot like a corner, etc. Putting a child in their crib for punishment will cause night time troubles and holding them down is abuse.

    Experts recommend time outs starting at age 2. 23 months is close enough to 2 for time outs. I started time outs at 20 months with no troubles.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 8:45 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • i heard to start time outs at 18 months..although i've seen it done as early as a year old. we tried time outs with my dd..and it never worked, even though we were consistent...we started spanking around 20 months, and my dd has become such a well behaved child. no, she doesn't fear us, like some moms will say about spanking. she still has her fits from time to time, and that's fine with us, bc we know she needs to voice her opinion. anymore, when she does something she's not supposed to be doing, all we have to do is threaten a spanking and she'll stop. discipline your child the way you feel is needed..bc no matter what, so women on here (not all of them, but there are some) will find a way to bash and call you a bad mommy no matter what.

    Answer by mom_to_kenzie at 9:16 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I have never spanked my kids (I have 6), but I have done time outs. I think it is ok for a time out at this age (not in crib or held down). A time out for this age would include removing from the situation to a quiet area and sit them down and briefly state the behavior they need to correct. It is about just moving them away from the activity where they are doing something wrong. I do not time it for this age, more of just sharing with them appropriate behavior.
    Of course, I would see if they can correct their behavior first when I ask them. A time out is for continuing a behavior that is wrong when asked. I did not use many time out's at this age. Sometimes redirection also works. I would tell them the correct behavior while redirecting to an appropriate behavior.

    Answer by grace2joy at 9:18 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I used spankings at that age if redirection was not working. The child is not fully capable of understanding why something is wrong. But he is capable of understanding that if he does it, he gets an owie. I didn't start using time outs until my kids were 5+ years. A time out is for taking time to sit down & think about what they did & why it is wrong. A 23 month old cannot do this.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 9:26 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • My son is 3 and has never been spanked. There's an interesting article in Time magazine this week about spanking. A study published in Pediatrics magazine found that kids spanked at 3, were more aggressive by the time they were 5 vs kids who weren't spanked. The study accounted for all sorts of other factors that might also make a child more aggressive (i.e. domestic violence, neglect, etc). So, I'd stick with your no spanking policy. At that age, I found timeouts to be useless.. Redirection was the best way to get him to stop doing something I didn't want him to do. When I needed him to do something, (i.e. help pick up toys), I was careful on how I worded requests to make them easier to follow. So, I'd ask him to pick up his truck and put it in the bin rather than "clean up the toys". I did find that holding him in my lap when he hit/bit and talking to him calmly about what he did worked for that. I never put him in his crib.

    Answer by momofryan07 at 10:01 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Well thanks momofryan07 for the first response that I found to be helpful. Picking up toys is a challenge in my home, I never thought to ask him to pick up something specific like "a truck." Great suggestion! I could not agree more about the spanking thing! I read the same article in Parents magazine, about how IT DOES make some children more aggressive. Though I am not fully against it, the more and more I think about it...I don't think my son will be the kind of child that will benefit from it. He gets his feelings hurt easily, and tends to be a bit aggressive so I don't think that spanking will be our approach with him ever. He reacts wonderfully to positive reinforcement, and it makes me feel good to give that to him. I've swatted him on the diaper before and that makes both of us feel bad. I think I will stick with the alternative. Thanks again!

    Answer by Julians_Momma at 10:13 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • Timeouts done correctly are definitely effective for a 23 month old. I started them with my twins at 17 months, and within 2 weeks they stopped throwing things from their highchairs. We never held them down, but we did use their cribs as a safe place to put them at that age. I was concerned that using their cribs might have a negative effect on sleeping, but it didn't. If you don't want to use the crib you can have a designated spot that you put your child, and then just pick him up and put him back repeatedly until he stays. If you want some ideas for really good and effective discipline techniques that are very positive, check out Love and Logic. I have also heard very good reviews of 1-2-3 Magic, but I have no experience with it.


    Answer by TweenAndTwinMom at 10:14 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I think it depends on the child. Every child is different.Different punishments work for different children and different parents. If I remember correctly, My son had gotten time outs by that age.(he's 10 yrs old now). He was is daycare and thats what worked for him.I never held him down.Ever.I would imagine holding him down would just make the sitaution worse and he'd probably forget what the heck he was being punished for and just been freaking out over being held down. I didn't spank him at that age, I do know that. I think he was spanked for the first time around the age of 4 or 5.
    Now my 14 month old girl, I would never hold her down either...not now and not when she's older. She got her first "time out" last week.When I place a child in time out (I also babysit), I sit them on the couch and just let them cry it out or whatever they need to do to calm down and they all just get off the couch when they are ready.

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 10:22 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • I started time outs about 15 months. It works! Disipline is if you do X you get Y. Y should be something that is not desirable. We use a pack and play for time outs (22m). Until he can calms down, usually he falls asleep. I would not have a problem with using his crib except it is on the third floor. He has no negitive associations to the pack and play. We travel often and he sleeps in pack and play then with absolutly no issues, actually I think the time outs help him get accustomed to pack and play. Also, I do not use timeouts for things like not picking up toys. If he does not want to I get down on the floor and HELP (not do it for him) him pick up toys. Time outs are for temper tantrums. I say "that is not acceptable behaivor" if he does not calm down then I put him in pack and play till he is calm. Usually he calms down in less then a minute or falls asleep in 30 seconds or less. that is now. at first it took a while.

    Answer by KatieP. at 10:56 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

  • also, I often let the natural consequence speak for itself, ie Be carefeull, if you keep jumping on couch you could get hurt. - > keeps jumping on couch-> falls off couch -> next time I say be carefull he gets off couch immediatly :) I don't raise my voice, everything gets said calmly then if he does not respond -> calm consequence, such as toy taken away that he is trying to hit his sister with, playpen for timeout if all out temper tantrum, natural consequence (unless it is dangerous then I have smacked his hand for trying to unplug lamp etc)

    Answer by KatieP. at 11:01 AM on Apr. 26, 2010

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