12 Gentle Alternatives To Time-Out That Work

gentle alternatives to time-out

For some families, pulling out the time-out chair might just be the thing they need when kids misbehave. But what are parents to do when this discipline method does not help to steer their little ones’ behaviour in a positive direction?

According to Lisa McCrohan, compassion coach psychotherapist at Georgetown University in the United States, it is important for mum and dad to calm down and manage their emotions first before tackling the huge task of shifting their kids’ behaviour.

“In any stressful situation, if we want our children to learn effective emotional regulation and make good choices, then we as parents have to be the ones to model it.”

Other child psychology experts are also on the same page with McCrohan. They emphasised that when parents practice mindfulness themselves, this can make a huge difference when it comes to correcting misbehaviour in kids.

But with that being said, kids will still be kids, and they may not be on their best behaviour all the time. In situations like this, you might want to give these 12 time-out alternatives a try. Over time, these will help you build a loving relationship with your kids and set them on the right path to behaving in a positive manner.

1. Hug it out

gentle alternatives to time-out

During the toddler years, your kids are learning to deal with the wave of emotions that they are experiencing. In moments of frustration, tantrums and melt-downs are most likely to ensue. So how do you quickly defuse the situation?

As bizarre as it might sound, offering a hug to your little ones might just be the thing you need as it helps you connect with them on an emotional level before correcting their behaviour. “When a child is misbehaving, we first want to restore connection. Offering a hug is one way to join with your child, give [him] that deep but gentle pressure [he] needs around [his] body, and connect with each other before addressing the behaviour,” says McCrohan.


2. Ask questions

gentle alternatives to time-out

We may not always understand the reason why kids do things that are deemed inappropriate in our eyes and mind. But what we see as “bad” or “naughty” might just be an innocent attempt to understand how something works.

So, instead of getting worked up with your child’s behaviour, try to find out their intentions by asking questions and listening before correcting them on how they could have handled it better. You can also ask questions to help your kids tune in to their feelings, both when they misbehave and for times when they do something good. When children are in touch with their feelings, they are less likely to act out.


3. Help them describe their feelings

gentle alternatives to time-out

When kids react in a way you’d rather them not, McCrohan suggests that parents address and acknowledge this by helping them name what they are feeling. Doing this before jumping into how they shouldn’t have done so gives your kids time to calm down and get in touch with their emotions.


Do time-ins help you manage your child’s time-outs better? More on this and other time-out tips on the next page.


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