Five Time-Out Tips for Toddlers

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You guys. Amelia is a totally different kid than her brother, Lucas. Amelia is like a hurricane. She is into everything and wants to do everything. It’s like she has forgotten that she is a toddler. She wants to be a big kid. I love her spunk and independence, but sometimes it’s also a battle to get her to follow directions or rules. Let’s just say that we have become very experienced with “time-outs”. Today, I wanted to share with you a few time-out tips that have worked really well with us!

Choose a time-out spot. One of the most important things to consider when putting your child in time-out is the place. Pick one spot in your house and consistently use the same spot. It should be a place that you can easily keep an eye on your child and that is free of all distraction and noise. We use a personalized time-out with love stool from Personal Creations that is typically placed in the foyer hall. What I like about using a stool is that it’s movable just in case the time-out spot has to change in a pinch. Once you have the spot, show your child and explain the type of behavior that will result in a time-out. Also, explain what good behavior looks like.




Time Out with Love Stool from Personal Creations

Timing. You know what they say…timing is everything and that rings true for time-outs too. Time-outs that are either too short or too long are not effective. Pediatricians recommend one minute per year of your child’s age. Amelia is 2 years old so her time-out time is 2 minutes. We set a timer in the kitchen and she knows that when the timer goes off – time-out is over. And…when time out is over…time out is over. It’s a clean slate for the child.

Be Swift and Consistent. If your child is misbehaving, give her a warning and remind her what good behavior looks like. If the bad behavior continues after the warning, immediately take her to time-out. It’s important that you don’t wait until after she finishes dinner or you get back home, etc. It has to be right away and it has to be consistent to be effective. If you’re out and your child needs a time-out, improvise by coming up with a new time-out spot that is safe (of course!) and away from as many distractions as possible.

Keep Your Cool. It’s important that when your child is given a time-out that you get down to their eye level and use a firm, calm voice without yelling or losing your cool. Look, I get it. Your child is misbehaving and it’s their tenth trip to time-out and you’re frustrated…been there! However, it’s important to show your child that you are in control – this will model good behavior for your kids too!

Praise Your Child. Just like when you let your child know when they are misbehaving, praise your child when they are being good! Make sure to be specific! EX. “Amelia, you are being so nice to your brother! I love to see you both play so nicely and share your toys.”


  1. This works for sure. We did it with our kids. Mica used to talk in there about what he did wrong, and how he shouldn’t of done this or that. I knew he was thinking.

  2. I agree with your tips especially on praising kids when they do good. They will know the difference between bad and good things.

  3. I like the idea of setting a timer so the child knows when time out is over.

  4. Love the time out mat idea. A little time out is good for everyone (even moms)