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At what age do you think kids can understand "time out"?

I've tried time out with my 16 month old, but no matter how many time I put him back in the chair he gets up. And when he does sit the time out, he will go straight back to doing what he did before. I think maybe he just doesn't understand. What age do you think they start understanding?

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Asked by BlainesMommy09 at 3:59 PM on Jul. 22, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 20 (9,173 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • When they start reacting to the word "No". At that point they realize that they shouldn't be doing something and then they just need to learn the consequences of continuing. We started @ 14 months

    Answer by Jademom07 at 4:01 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • We started my son more around 18 months, I think 16 months is early, but at least you are doing it. Mine is 23 months now and has clearly understood he is in trouble, I would say for a couple months now. He is even the master manipulator. He peed on the the chair this last week twice when in TO. So now for the last 2 days when he has been sat down he says Pee, thinking he can get up. And this is after he just peed. Too funny. But he will eventually get it, 16 months is early. And at that age a minute of sitting is asking a lot.

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 4:03 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • if you can tell your child NO in a normal voice and they stop, they understand. I started at 1 year old for 1 minute, at 2 years it became 2 minutes, etc.

    Answer by DarkFaery131 at 4:04 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • My kids were both doing time outs by 12-14 months... Training them as to what a time out is is your first obstacle. Because their brain says "Im bored - go play" You have to be consistent and make them sit that time out - which takes a bit of practice, but they will get it.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 4:04 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • He understands right now that he is doing what he wants to do. He also fully understands what you want him to do. I'll tell you how you can prove it. The next time he does something for which you have been trying to put him in time out, you tell him one time, "Don't do that. If you do that again, Mommy is going to spank you." He most likely will do it again. Then you spank him for it, telling him that Mommy says no, that he disobeyed Mommy, and when he disobeys, Mommy spanks. You do that 2 or 3 times in a row, and see if he doesn't get the message. There is pain associated with disobedience, and that is far different from giving him a second opportunity to disobey you by getting up from his chair. This is a battle of the wills, and right now your 16-month old is winning it, hands down. I would put a stop to it right now.

    Answer by NannyB. at 4:04 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • A time-out is a form of punishment and is not a good parenting tool. When you are parenting think about what you are doing. Does it stop bad behavior, does it teach good behavior? Time-outs do neither. They teach kids to sneak, lie, "not listen", "back talk", and resent adults. If you learn good parenting skills form the beginning you can have a well behavied child you can take anywherer and not need time-outs.

    Authoritative parenting is the most effective style of parenting. You can go to google and read more about it.


    Answer by Gailll at 4:10 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • Oh are so much more than their behaviour.

    I have never punished or put my child in time out..he is 2 and a half. It is cruel and unkind punishment.

    Children are not born bad and we have to go about correcting their behaviour. Correcting behaviour isn't the way to go about it anyway as their is more to a child than their behaviour.

    Answer by keyaziz at 4:20 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • One of the biggest problems with time out is that the parent gives up too soon. Stay calm, tell them why they are in time out, do not talk every time you have to take them back to the seat/area. You may have to take them back many times when first using the technique. Read up on the technique. It is effective when used correclty. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 4:22 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • We used bedroom/crib time (sort of like time-out) starting at 17 months with our twins, and it worked great. We didn't send them to their rooms exclusively though for everything. For instance, if they threw food, we took the food. If they threw a toy, we took the toy. But, if they hit, bit, went someplace they weren't allowed to be, or threw a fit they went to their crib. We didn't give them warnings about the rules they were expected to follow, and within two weeks we didn't have to do it very often. There is more to it than just the action of putting them somewhere, there is also the way that you do it and the words that use that make a difference. The method we have used is called Love & Logic, and it has really worked well for us.


    Answer by TweenAndTwinMom at 4:26 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

  • I was 5 years old when my Dad told me to take a time out...there were 6 of us kids...and a 5 year can begin to handle a 5 minute time out...a minute per age is an eternity for a child to sit it out in the time out chair...:( but a minute pre age is fair...and probably shouldn't be started with too young a child..I understood at 5..usually 2, 3, 4 are going to be getting a nap anyway...and of course is dependant on your child...but as a rule I think this works...this is the age I began to give my daughter time outs...and it worked perfectly then before you know it she was 7 and willing to help mommy more...yay! She turned out to be an awesome daughter, in college now and the neatest person I know...she is a fantastic woman now.

    Answer by burderopkid at 4:31 PM on Jul. 22, 2010

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