Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Phases of Time Out

Baby is frequently getting into trouble.  When I say "in trouble," I mean when mommy or daddy will tell her no.  If she doesn't cease, or does whatever it is we are telling her not to do (or do.  Same rules apply when we ask her to do something), then mommy or daddy will count to three.  If Baby hasn't changed her mind, she gets timeout for three minutes.  Timeout is located in the corner of mommy and daddy's bathroom, away from everyone and everything. 

I have mixed feelings about the system we have implemented.  I think timeouts are good, because they remove her from the situation and get her away from her current environment.  I like the counting, because it gives her a chance to think about what she's doing and then react, either positively or negatively.  Plus, it eliminates the need for a parent to nag and repeat the request, or to start yelling (it reigns Husband and I in.  It is a very concrete system).  We've been doing the counting, then timeout system for a while, and Baby completely understands the system.  So here's my problem.  Now, when we ask her to do something, or stop doing something, she will ignore us until we start counting.  This elicits phase one of timeout.

Phase One: Man Your Battle Stations

When we see Baby misbehaving, we tell Baby to stop and get prepared for what might happen next:  
1) Baby might do what we want at that point (ha!)
2) Baby might start yelling at us to "STOP COUNTING!"
3) Baby might  wait until we get to three and earn a timeout. 

I don't like the fact that she is ignoring us initially and haven't figured out what to do about that.  Also note, Husband and I are very consistent in our counting.  We don't do any of that " and a half....two.....two and a quarter.....  No, we are very precise and get to the point.

Phase Two: The Walk

We have a long hallway Baby has to walk down to get to our bedroom, then to our bathroom.  The walk might include: 
a) One of us just carrying Baby and plopping her in timeout  
b) Baby running ahead of us screaming, "Don't touch me! I walk myself!"
c) Baby running in the opposite direction until we tackle her and carry her to timeout
d)  If daddy is at work and mommy was nursing Baby2, it will be mommy grabbing Baby by the arm and literally dragging her down the hallway to timeout (this has now turned into a game.  Not good).
e) Baby biting mommy's hand while she is dragged down the hallway to timeout (seriously, this happened the other day.  I smacked her mouth and she hasn't done it again.)

Phase Three: The Corner  

While in timeout, Baby is supposed to sit or stand in the corner and not touch anything.  This also may or may not consist of Baby:
1)  Screaming her lungs out
2) Yelling "Mommmmyyyyy" over and over and over and over and over
3)  Saying she has to go potty (if this is the case, we have her go potty, then start time out again).
4)  Banging on the wall or the shower door.
5) Deciding she doesn't want to be in timeout and would rather go through the cupboards 

Please note that all attempts at attention are ignored (unless she is in danger or flushing things down the toilet or getting into mommy's makeup, etc).

Phase Four: Reconciliation

After three minutes (or so) are up, one of use will go retrieve Baby.  We ask her to explain why she was in timeout, then she can go play again.  

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