A time-out removes a child from a situation so they can reflect on their behavior. It also serves as a cooling off period. How and when that time-out is taken depends on which philosophy a parent chooses to follow. Here are two common techniques:
1-2-3 Magic: Dr. Thomas Phelan uses the time-out as the end-result of a warning system. According to his theory, a parent warns a child with, "That's 1", "That's 2", and then "That's 3 and time-out" over the course of 30 minutes. If the tot reaches the end stage, without emotion the parent removes the child from their current environment and places them in their room for one minute per year of age. When the time-out is over, the child is free to go on with their activities — no apology or conversation about the misbehavior is necessary.
Naughty Step: This method, made famous by Supernanny Jo Frost, tells parents to confront their child's misbehavior when it happens, explain why it is wrong, and warn them not to do it again. If the tot repeats the action, he is placed on a step on the staircase or a mat for one minute per year of age with a short explanation as to why he was put there. When the time-out is over, the parent should get on the child's level and explain the misbehavior one more time, ask for an apology, and then praise the child for their understanding.
Do you use time-out with your children, and if so, which method?