www.zerotofive.net
The secret
to time-outs
that work
A tip adapted from
by Tracy Cutchlow
You threaten a time-out, lecture, threaten again, get
exasperated, banish your child to time-out, get pissed off
when she e...
And it
doesn’t work.
The truly effective
discipline technique?
Briefly withdrawing attention.
It's just a chance to stop, take
a break, and regain self-control.
It's positive, not punitive
I call it a
calm-down.
Time-out
• used to punish and shame
• doesn't teach what to do
• makes taking a break a
bad thing
• makes both parties fee...
Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press
It looks like this
How to prepare?
Create a Wheel of Choice
Together, brainstorm
things that calm your child.
Write them on a pie chart
and illustrate it.
Copyright Jane Nelsen and L...
taking deep breaths punching a pillow
jumping up and down mashing playdough
being asked if she wants a hug looking at a bo...
When to call a calm-down?
For disruptive or defiant behavior
4 steps to calling
a calm-down
“OK, time for a calm-down.” (Be matter-of-fact, not threatening or disrespectful.)
Even better, you go first:
“I need to ca...
Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press
“We’re not going to talk about
this until we’re both calm.”
Surprise: You don't need some chair in the corner.
The key is withdrawing attention from the misbehavior, not
necessarily ...
Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press
You could ask if your child would like a hug first.
If your child won’t choose, announce your own plan for calming down:
“I’m going to (take deep breaths / read a book / pick...
Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press
3 benefits:
• It models for your child
how to calm down.
• It calms you down.
• It withdr...
Kids can't learn a lesson when they're worked up. (You can't either,
right?) There's no point lecturing in the heat of the...
Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press
Ask questions without judging:
“What happened there?”
“What can you do differently next ...
www.zerotofive.net
Tracy Cutchlow is the author of Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based
on Science (and What I’v...
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The secret to time-outs that work -- parenting and discipline advice from Zero to Five

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Quick: What’s the easiest thing to say when your kid misbehaves? “That’s it — time-out!” Easy, yes. But effective? Not the way most of us do it.

That’s one of the surprises I encountered while researching "Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I've Learned So Far)." It's a parenting book you'll actually have time to read! One tip per page, with beautiful photographs.

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The secret to time-outs that work -- parenting and discipline advice from Zero to Five

  1. 1. www.zerotofive.net The secret to time-outs that work A tip adapted from by Tracy Cutchlow
  2. 2. You threaten a time-out, lecture, threaten again, get exasperated, banish your child to time-out, get pissed off when she escapes from time-out, wrestle her back into it, yell at her to be quiet if she sounds like she’s having fun in there, feel bad if she’s crying, make her apologize afterward, and wrap up with a lecture. In other words, a heck of a lot of attention. Does this sound familiar?
  3. 3. And it doesn’t work.
  4. 4. The truly effective discipline technique? Briefly withdrawing attention.
  5. 5. It's just a chance to stop, take a break, and regain self-control. It's positive, not punitive
  6. 6. I call it a calm-down.
  7. 7. Time-out • used to punish and shame • doesn't teach what to do • makes taking a break a bad thing • makes both parties feel bad Calm-down • used to help child deal with intense emotions • teaches what to do instead of misbehaving • makes taking a break a good thing • feels better to parents and kids A calm-down vs. a time-out
  8. 8. Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press It looks like this
  9. 9. How to prepare? Create a Wheel of Choice
  10. 10. Together, brainstorm things that calm your child. Write them on a pie chart and illustrate it. Copyright Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott
  11. 11. taking deep breaths punching a pillow jumping up and down mashing playdough being asked if she wants a hug looking at a book listening to soothing music drawing stretching doing windmills or sit-ups or squats Ideas
  12. 12. When to call a calm-down? For disruptive or defiant behavior
  13. 13. 4 steps to calling a calm-down
  14. 14. “OK, time for a calm-down.” (Be matter-of-fact, not threatening or disrespectful.) Even better, you go first: “I need to calm down. I’m going to read in my room for a few minutes.” “Time for a calm-down. I’m going to take deep breaths.” Keep the conversation short and sweet. Step 1
  15. 15. Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press “We’re not going to talk about this until we’re both calm.”
  16. 16. Surprise: You don't need some chair in the corner. The key is withdrawing attention from the misbehavior, not necessarily the child. You might say, “Would you like to sit next to me while you calm down?” Or “Would you like to go to your calm-down space, or should I go to mine?” Let your child choose where to calm down. Step 2
  17. 17. Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press You could ask if your child would like a hug first.
  18. 18. If your child won’t choose, announce your own plan for calming down: “I’m going to (take deep breaths / read a book / pick something from our Wheel of Choice). I love you, but I’m too worked up to talk about this right now.” Practice a calming technique. Step 3
  19. 19. Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press 3 benefits: • It models for your child how to calm down. • It calms you down. • It withdraws your attention from the misbehavior.
  20. 20. Kids can't learn a lesson when they're worked up. (You can't either, right?) There's no point lecturing in the heat of the moment. Once everyone is calm (maybe that night), then talk. Name the misbehavior and the behavior you want instead. Teach the lesson ... later Step 4
  21. 21. Copyright Betty Udesen/Pear Press Ask questions without judging: “What happened there?” “What can you do differently next time?” “What do we need to do to make this right?”
  22. 22. www.zerotofive.net Tracy Cutchlow is the author of Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I’ve Learned So Far), and the editor of the bestselling books Brain Rules for Baby and Brain Rules. As a journalist, she has worked for MSN Money and the Seattle Times. She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter. More parenting tips at

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