Time-Out Mistakes and How to Solve Them

Child on time out

Disciplining a child can be tough, no matter what your methods, but one time-tested method that many parents resort to is time-out. Time out can be enacted to calm a hysteric, tantrum-throwing child or help drive a point home about certain behaviors. It can also provide kids with time to think about their actions and about how they carry themselves, too. As time-trusted and wide-spread as this method of discipline is, many parents don’t always experience the results they expect to gain from it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends time-outs as an effective discipline strategy, saying that “ignoring, removing, or withholding parent attention to decrease the frequency or intensity of undesirable behaviors” is “especially important in promoting positive child behavior.” But in order for time-outs to be truly effective, parents need to know how to go about enforcing them.

The Empty Threat

Saying you’re going to send a child to time-out might sound like a warning, but for some kids, it could soon become an idle threat that they know won’t be enacted. Sometimes, saying that time-out, or any other disciplinary measure, is imminent can get kids to reevaluate their behavior on the fly and adjust accordingly, but when only threatened enough times, kids may begin to think that time-out is not a reality. When warning kids to use time-out, do so in a firm voice and be prepared to follow through. Like any other punishment, time-out can be adjusted to the situation, but acting on your word can make this method much more effective on a consistent basis.

Too Much or Too Little Time Out

Some experts claim that time-out length should correlate with a child’s age. Kids under the age of two are not likely to be affected by any kind of time-out method, but otherwise time-out (when timed properly) can be helpful. Some studies support the age/minute method, dishing out 2 minutes of time-out for a 2-year-old and 3 minutes for a 3-year-old etc. But others think that a flat, and consistent, five minutes is enough. See what works best for your kids and go from there.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Time-outs don’t help when your child might actually want a time-out. If your child is acting out in places where they already don’t like being, such as the grocery store, giving them a time-out is only giving them what they want. Find other small disciplinary measures to take, such as removing a privilege or a toy, or delaying some other activity later on.

Location, Location, Location

“Go to your room!” may sound like a common disciplinary phrase, but sending a child to their room for time-out may not have the desired or intended effect if their room is full of their own belongings, toys, etc. Find a place where kids are more or less forced to focus on their actions, such as a laundry room or bathroom where they may not forget about their punishment and find themselves distracted.

New Study Reveals Reading Aloud to Kids Really Does Matter

Dad reading to child


A child’s reading behavior and attitude towards reading should always be a thing of importance to parents and caregivers. An interest in reading is more than just about developing a hobby, but it is about developing invaluable skills that will help a child throughout their young lives and beyond. Reading plays a key role in academic performance, personal development, and their ability to understand and communicate with others.

In a study performed by Scholastic and featured in the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report, the concluded results determined that early literacy was important, especially when parents read aloud to their children during the first five years of their life.

According to the study, most of the 2,558 parents surveyed began reading to their children ages 0 to 5 aloud at home anywhere from as much as 5 to 7 days a week. But as their children got older, these numbers diminished significantly. Even though parents acknowledged the importance of reading and wanted their children to enjoy reading, many (if not most) parents ceased reading to their children once they were able to read independently on their own. Despite this, 40 percent of surveyed children ages 6 to 11 actually wished their parents still read aloud to them.

Researchers working on this study were also interested in patterns that may influence whether children became frequent or infrequent readers. For many frequent readers, aged 6 to 17, there were several factors contributed to their love for reading – but one of the more striking ones included having parents that were not only frequent readers in their own right and parents who read aloud to them often, starting at an early age. The study also revealed that 41 percent of frequent readers ages 6 to 10 were read aloud to at home, while only 13 percent of infrequent readers were being read to.

As much as factors like reading aloud can help encourage kids to read more on their own and to be better readers, these behaviors can also result from “a whole constellation of other things that goes on in those families,” said Timothy Shanahan, professor emeritus of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a past president of the International Reading Association. Regardless, it is still worthy to note the numbers when it comes to parents who consistently read aloud to their kids and those who do not – so if you are thinking of foregoing that bedtime story, you may want to think again.

7 Ways To Encourage A Love Of Reading

7 Ways To Encourage Reading

Reading is one of the most beneficial skills to have. Being able to read is one thing, but things like reading comprehension and writing can be applied in many aspects of adult daily life. It is important to be able to communicate effectively, understand abstract concepts, and to be able to conduct research to gather information. But aside from that, reading can help people learn to be more empathetic, learn about other people and cultures, and understand how to better express themselves. There are many reasons why parents should be concerned with getting their children to read, and it helps if they like to read as well. When it comes to encouraging a love of reading, there are a few things parents should consider:

Make it Fun

It’s easy for parents to be concerned if their child isn’t reading at their level or simply isn’t showing an interest in reading period, but pressuring them to read or pushing the activity on them can do more harm than good. Make sure that reading is a stress-free activity, that it is as fun as can be, and that it is enjoyable for everyone. Keeping a good attitude about it can help both parties tremendously, especially when a reluctant reader is involved.

Make it Part of Your Everyday

Kids are more likely to pick up a book or develop an interest in reading if it is already a staple in their lives. Making a habit, such as bedtime reading or encouraging reading on car rides, can help make reading something familiar for kids. Having books around the house, reading on your own and having books and reading be a part of your life and not necessarily your child’s can have an impact, too. Kids learn by example, so if they see mommy and daddy reading, they are more likely to want to read too.

Make it a Game

Boosting reading skills can happen anytime, anywhere. Make letter games when driving, asking your kids to pick out letters they see or playing “I Spy” type game with words and phrases on signs you pass by. Play letter games while getting meals together, ask them to read the labels and to see if they can find specific words around the house. While reading physical books, try the same thing. This can help reluctant readers open up to more interactive and creative ways of reading that may change the activity all together for them.

Make it Personal

Sometimes, kids need more of an “in” before getting into reading, and things like personalized books can help do that. Making your child the star of the story can instantly spark their interest. It can also be helpful if kids are going through something specific, such as starting their first day of school or learning to potty train. Reading about issues that affect them personally or reading stories where they are the hero can help them to better connect with the reading material and become more enthusiastic about reading in general.

Give Them a Head Start

If you’re having trouble getting kids interested in reading, you can help them out. Pick a chapter book with a topic your child may be interested in and read the first few chapters alongside with them. After that, encourage your child to read with you or to finish out the book on their own. Their interest in the story and the characters can motivate them to finish out the book!

Make it More Social

Encouraging kids to share books and stories can help keep their interest. Ask your child to read to you for a change, have them read to a younger sibling or an older sibling, or even have them read to a pet! There are actually plenty of libraries and pet shelters that host programs where kids read to animals which have shown to improve animal behavior as well as kids’ reading skills.

Make it Special

Treating books as special treats can give them more value. Offer your child a book when you go to the store or as a consolation prize after a doctor’s visit. Treat reading as a special activity when you do it together or when you see them reading on their own. Reading is special on its own, but making it feel extra magical can help keep a child’s interest and encourage them to do it more often.