Creative Child

3 Alternatives to Time-Out That Work!

by Rebecca Eanes


2. Problem-solving is a better alternative for older children.

When a parent imposes a time-out, he or she has just taken responsibility for the child's actions and delivered a punishment. Now, in the child's mind, he has been absolved from his misbehavior. He has paid the price, and it is done. Sure, it may not have been pleasant to endure the punishment, but what skills did he learn from being grounded?


If we want to raise responsible children, it makes sense to hold them accountable for their actions and teach them how to fix their own mistakes. Give the responsibility of the misbehavior back to the child. Some lead in questions to begin the problem-solving process are: “What happened as a result of your actions?” “How are you going to fix this?” “What can you do better next time?” “What have you learned from this?”

3. Natural consequences are good teachers if we allow them to be.

There are two problems that often hinder learning. First, we rescue our children from facing the natural consequences of their actions. Then, we pile on a punishment which distracts from the initial consequence and focuses the child on the parent's behavior rather than her own. 

Allow the natural consequences to occur when they are appropriate, and let life teach the lesson.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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