Polk Moms

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What's the difference between making a child sit in the corner by themselves for a time out and just sending them to their room for a time out? My sister uses the children's rooms and I do the other. She thinks it's okay for her kids to do whatever they want in their room during this period and I don't. Which one of us is actually right and why?

We used time outs for our three older children by sending them to their rooms during family time. But, it never really seemed to work because they liked to be alone with their computers and other digital devices. Once we found this out, we sent them to our bedroom where there was nothing in there for them to play on or whatever. We also made family time, which is 45 minutes every other night, more fun and they actually really missed it. So, instead of laughing with everyone else, they were alone in a boring room with nothing to do. That's when their behavior started getting much better. - R. Ramos in New York City, NY


Parents use time outs for many reasons. The main one is sort of a “be by yourself and think of how you could have done or said something in a more acceptable way” time period. This clearly means that in order to get this accomplished, a child needs to be in an area where the thinking process can take place without any type of distractions. Depending on the ages of the children, a little chair or pillow to sit on that is placed in a safe corner away from others makes sense. This is usually utilized for children 18 months up to six years old. Of course, the younger the child, the less amount of time they will be able to actually stay seated. Acknowledging this fact will save frustration, time and energy with everyone concerned. For older kids, parents usually start grounding them from going anywhere, seeing friends, etc., as well as taking away electronic devices, except for use on homework assignments, plus their cell phone, should they have one. Should you decide to send them to their room, which most parents do with older kids, certain things will need to be removed. For example, if they have a computer and/or other items that are considered luxuries like iPods, iPads, laptops and the like, take them away. Anything they can use to talk with friends or listen to music or play a game, be sure to remove. In the end, it is not necessarily which choice is right or better than the other but instead it boils down to the individual child and what works best.

This year, three of my siblings have lost their jobs. This makes a big difference in what we buy all the kids, up to age 17, because the other three siblings, including my own family, will be getting together and helping those that can't spend the money just to try to make the holidays a little more joyful. Gift suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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