Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hmmm...Time-outs really aren't working like I'd planned

So I have this sweet baby girl who likes to live on the edge. Among other things she's a climber. And she's ridiculously fast for someone so small. Her favorite thing to climb is the furniture and then she proceeds to pretend it's a trampoline. (No wonder I already need a touch up to cover this gray hair!)

Since she really isn't concerned about the dangers of cracking her head open on the hardwood floors or breaking any bones rationalization doesn't help. So my husband and I are now sending her to time-out. The funny thing is (well, it's not too funny) she really doesn't care. She either blows kisses to the wall (imagine a very dramatic "Muah! Muah!") or she passionately declares her love for us ("I love you, Mommy! Daddy, I love you!") or she plays the drums on the floor to pass her whopping one minute and 45 seconds of time. According to the "experts" the length of a time-out should match a child's actual age. We can't just leave her there until it makes a stronger impression. Can we?

She'll tell us no when we ask if she wants to go to time-out, and after a warning we do follow through with the time-out. But it's just not working. Tonight, she actually put herself in time-out before I even had time to say a word. She had a very covert exit strategy out of the family room, right into the living room and immediately onto the couch. I suppose it was worth it to her to get one or two good jumps in before I pulled her down. Wow! I have to give the girl props for tenacity, but at 19 months. Seriously? I guess it's time for a new plan.


  1. Yeah, timeouts don't work for us either. Amelia refuses to sit there OR walks herself to timeout after doing whatever she wants. It is very hard to reason with someone who doesn't understand reason...yet. We'll keep trying and eventually, I hope, she'll get it.
    I think we'll conquer potty training LONG before we tackle the paci. THAT will be painful. Amelia is like Ellie- 2 is waaaayyyy better than one!

  2. I believe Amelia and Ellie may be kindred spirits. What do you do with toddlers who do what they want and then accept the consequences? I must say that it's impressive. Good luck with the potty training, Shelley!

  3. We do time-out, too -- we call it the "Thinking Square." We have an actual kitchen timer. My Amelia used to do the same thing. I figured out the only thing I could do is sit there with her. I hold her hands. I don't let her move. And I talk to her and make her repeat after me. Perhaps I am boring her into submission. Or perhaps I am just lucky. But, at least at this point, all I have to do is hold up the timer, and she minds me -- she doesn't want to be Talked to Death in the Thinking Square. She turns 3 on Saturday, so it could change at any moment. :)

  4. Oh, I like the idea of calling it the "Thinking Square," Kristi. it just sounds so much better than time-out or naughty spot. I've tried the silent time-out, but that's obviously not working well for me. And I do always tell her that I love her too, but she's still in time-out for climbing and jumping on the furniture. I would think that having me "lecture" for the entire time could work or at least make her think twice. I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks for the tip, and Happy Birthday to Amelia on Saturday!!