If one of your disciplinary tools it the tried and true ‘time out’, but it doesn’t seem to be working with your preschooler, it’s time to do some troubleshooting.
Are you being consistent? If you use time out one day but not the next day for the same behavior, your child is getting a mixed signal from you. Stay consistent.
How long are you putting your child in time out? If your child won’t stay in time out you may be requiring that he stays there too long. A few minutes can be an eternity to a preschool aged child, and sometimes, it only takes a few minutes for the child to understand that their behavior is not acceptable. As a rule of thumb, one minute per year of age is all that’s needed.
Where is your child’s time out? If you are sending your child to his room that may be the reason time out is not working. Children love their rooms. Sending them to where all their toys are really has no effect. Besides, a child’s room should be a comforting place, not a place of punishment if you want your child to sleep in his room.
Are you using the correct timing? Do you wait until your child is past the point of no return to send him to time out? Or, do you see it coming and intervene? If a child is too upset, time out will be difficult. He will not be able to calm himself down. When he cries the entire time he is in time out, he cannot focus on the reason he is in time out.
Finally, make sure that you are using time outs for the important things. Don’t send your child to time out for everything he does wrong during the day. Time outs work when the child needs quite time to consider his actions. They don’t work for every behavioral problem. You must add other disciplinary tools to your arsenal such as discussions, removing privileges, and reparation.