I can’t get my 2½-year-old to stay in time-out. What should I do?
I’m not surprised. Some 2-year-olds will sit on a chair or the steps for a brief time-out, but most lack the self-discipline to stay any longer.
With that in mind, I offer two suggestions. First, explain to your child what a time-out is and under what circumstances he will be put in time-out. When he fails to listen, or when he breaks a rule, announce, “OK—that’s a time-out.”
Escort you toddler to the corner, hold him by the hands while you stand behind him and stay there for a minute. He won’t like it, and that’s the idea. After a minute, ask him, “Are you ready to behave now?”
Another method involves placing an expandable gate in a doorway. Put your child behind the gate for two minutes. After two minutes have passed, again ask him if he’s ready to listen and behave. Remember, some agile children can climb over a gate. If your child knows how, buy a larger gate. Some parents will balk at this suggestion, but I must remind you that kids this age are primitive. Parents have to occasionally go to great lengths to show them who’s in charge.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.