You’ve probably heard of Time Out, but are you familiar with the term Time In?
We posted a piece that gave some background information about the way the brain works. If you’d like to read that before you learn about Time In click here.
Time out – To send a child who is “out of control” to an isolated spot to cool down. In time out a child spends time alone without other people or toys. When it was started, time out was a good alternative to spanking. Time out is often prefaced with a request for a child to go to their room and “think about what they did wrong”.
- There is some peace and quiet for the parent because of separation from a screaming, thrashing or whining child.
- It can separate two (or more) feuding children
- It offers a child some time to settle down.
- It does not change behavior.
- It does not teach the child any new strategies to learn to self-regulate
- They don’t always have the mental tools to figure out “what they did wrong”
- Before age 7 -8 children do not think concretely. They cannot reason with themselves and think, “I was sent to time out because I threw a small metal car at my brother and it hit him in the head. Now he might have to go to the hospital and get stitches, which could be painful for him and expensive for my parents” OR “If my sister is standing by the window and I throw a toy at her and it misses her, it could break the window”. They can’t come up with these ideas on their own. But if these types of ideas are explained to them, they can remember and use the information when the situation happens again. By explaining situations and reasoning with your child, they begin to learn to how to handle situations appropriately, by themselves.
(Do you love this picture as much as I do?! This is my momma experimenting with ‘time in’ back in the 80s with my older brother.)
Time in -To take a child to a quiet spot and stay there with them until they settle down enough to help them work through their anger or negative feelings. It also involves holding the child physically (after they have stopped thrashing around, of course) and emotionally while talking with them to help them identify and label their feeling. Talking about what just happened that caused the discomfort. As this process is repeated, over time, children learn to regulate themselves with less and less help.
How to know when your child is moving from brain stem (where they cannot be reasoned with) to cortex (where they are able to listen and reason):
What are some ways to help a child move from brainstem to the reasoning part of their brain?
- Focus on breathing. You might say, “let’s take a deep breath” then show them how- Breathe in slowly, close your eyes and hold it for a second then let it out slowly. I use to think that taking a deep breath, or counting to three before answering were silly ideas. But now I believe they are physical actions that help us begin to re-set our emotional state.
- Be present. Physically being with a child creates a sense of safety for them.
- Don’t try to start a conversation. Just give simple commands, if necessary.
What are some indicators that a child is moving from the brainstem to the reasoning part of the brain?
- In brainstem kids are usually nonverbal, and are kicking screaming and yelling (when they have moved out of the brain stem mode they will begin to be able to listen and interact with you reasonably).
- They start sounding needy and whiney; that means they are ready to start listening.
- They start using language such as “I want my toy”. When they begin to use their words, they are in a position to have a conversation
I found a few articles I liked about Tantrums. So I think I’ll turn this part into a parents digest (a periodical consisting of condensed versions of pieces of writing or news published elsewhere).
http://www.parenting.com/article/toddler-temper-tantrums?page=0,0 Why Toddlers Throw Temper Tantrums
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/science-of-tantrums/ The Science of Tantrums
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/tantrum-prevention-101/ How to Stop Tantrums Before They Start