Pros & Cons for a Time Out for Child Punishment

Updated April 14, 2017

On its Healthy Children website, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that time out is a good disciplinary choice for children who have broken a rule. Time out provides a chance for a child to calm down, cool off and think about her actions. Though time out has its benefits, it has drawbacks as well. Understanding the pros and cons of using time out with a child is important before choosing it as a discipline technique.

Pro: Age Range

Caring for Kids, a website of the Canadian Paediatric Society, explains that time out works best for children between ages 2 and 12. This form of discipline works for the majority of the childhood years and can be used consistently as a child grows.

Pro: Time Frame

The Healthy Children website states that one minute for each year of a child's life is the best length for a time out. Giving a child a specific and short time frame for his discipline allows him to know the expectations and time frame without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged.

Pro: Clear Explanation

Time out provides clear explanations of why the child is being disciplined. When placing a child in time out, give a specific reason for the discipline, such as "no name calling," explains the Healthy Children website. Using this technique lets children know what behaviour is discouraged and understand that their behaviour has consequences.

Con: Immediate Action

It is important to send a child to time out immediately after a behaviour is spotted, explains the Caring for Kids website. Following through with this discipline technique may be challenging for parents who can't immediately guide their child to the time out spot. In addition, there's not always time available to give the child a time out immediately.

Con: Time Out Spot

Having a designated spot for time out is an important part of this discipline technique, explains the Healthy Children website. When you're away from home, the time out spot is not available. This poses a challenge because the child does not know where to sit and the parent may have difficulty finding an acceptable spot.

Con: Parental Emotion

When placing a child in time out, it's best to remain calm and unemotional, explains the Healthy Children website. In addition, the parent must ignore all arguments, pleas, cries and tears from a child in time out for this discipline technique to be beneficial. Most parents have some difficulty ignoring their children, making this part of the time out process challenging for the adult.

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About the Author

Based in Florida, Mandi Titus has been writing since 2002. Her articles have been published on sites such as Goodkin, Go Green Street and Living the Healthy Way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Stetson University.