I first tried instituting time-outs as part of our disciplinary approach when the girls were just shy of two years old. They really didn’t react to it, but I hoped that consistency on my part would help them get the message.
It wasn’t long before time-out seemed to become a novelty. “I want to go to time out!” they’d ask. And those requests were all the more prevalent if Sissy had recently served a two-minute sentence.
I took a break from the time-out methodology for a while. It clearly wasn’t making much of an impression.
In need of a disciplinary system, I decided to revisit the time-out approach [as part of the 1-2-3 Magic methodology] this past fall, when the girls were a couple of months shy of three.
And it’s not that I relished the screams of my sweet baby girls, but I was glad that they finally both decided time out was, indeed, NOT a good thing.
That was really integral in the 1-2-3 methodology being effective for us, and – by and large – it has been.
On the first offense, “That’s one.”
“But I don’t want to go to time out!”
Well behave nicely, then.
And usually, they do. There are days when their three-year old memory banks seem a bit shallow, and they sometimes make it to time-out before straightening themselves up...
...but it’s clear to them both that time-out is not to be desired.
I had to laugh (to myself, very discreetly) a couple of days ago. Baby A had earned herself a three- minute time-out, and she was not happy about it. She was crying, and then she began pleading, over and over, “I don’t belong here! I don’t belong here!”
[I couldn't help but think of a prisoner, pleading his case from his jail cell, to anyone in earshot. Hmmm...perhaps I've read one too many legal thrillers in my time.]
And last night, Hubby was playing some Elton John for the girls. He told them that the title of the next cut was “Sad Songs”. Baby A volunteered, “Sometimes I get sad when I am in time-out.”
It was too cute, and sweet, and kinda pitiful…but – particularly after the time-out parties the girls seemed to want to have this time a year ago – I’m actually glad it’s making an impression on them.