“Go to your room; I told you three times not to hit your sister!” Sound familiar? We’ve all heard about time-outs and probably have all used them at some point and time. But are you familiar with time-ins?
Time ins are so much more beneficial and effective than time outs and are a fantastic gentle parenting hack I’ve used to help me get through the hard times.
What are Time-Ins versus Timeout?
They are very similar to time-outs, but with one key difference: your daughter is not alone.
Time ins are where you take time to be alone with your daughter. For example, you stay with your daughter while they are calming down.
Time ins are not to discipline or shame your child, but rather to help them learn their emotions and healthily control them.
What Does This Look Like?
Let’s take a look at an example.
Amber is playing with her dolls, and her younger sibling, Daisy, comes to play too.
As soon as Daisy touches one of the dolls, Amber yells, “No!” and takes the doll out of her hands.
You give the warning to play nice and continue cleaning.
Again you hear Amber yell at Daisy, but this time you notice she hits her too.
After you’ve given your warnings, now it’s time for time in.
You explain to Amber that it’s time to take a break and walk with her to her room calmly.
Then together you sit. You can practice some calming techniques or sit in silence. You can hold your daughter or be in the same room. Follow their lead and what they want.
My daughter usually starts by not wanting to be held but will quickly come to hold me after some time.
When you notice they are calm again, together you talk about what went wrong and the rules you’ve set at your house.
Together you come up with a way to make things right and then go back to your day.
Time in is more effective because you show your child you are there for them and aren’t punishing them.
What Do You Do During a Time-In?
Time in is what you want to establish with your daughter.
There are two primary keys for an adequate time in:
- Staying with your daughter.
- Work on calming down.
First, it is not enough to sit in the room with her and do nothing. You must help your daughter to calm down. This will eventually teach them that it is crucial to step away and take care of their emotions. It will also healthily regulate their emotions. There are some older girls who, to date, struggle with their emotions, even some moms. It is never too late to get it right.
Here are some calming techniques I’ve found very effective:
- Pray with your daughter
- Mindfulness for kids
- Reading a book
- Deep breathing
- Simply being held
- Comforting words and affirmations
Start with some of these and see what your daughter likes best. Maybe they prefer something entirely different! You
can always learn as they take the lead in calming down.
How Old Should You Begin to Use Time-Ins?
Time ins are most effective after your child turns two years old. Every child is different and needs different things at various stages. You know your child best; if you think they are ready, go for it! Remember, it’s never too late to the right a wrong.
If you have older kids struggling with managing their emotions, You will need to take it to God in prayer and then sit down to talk. Admit your mistakes and ask them to partner with you to walk through that season, and God will help them be a better version of themselves. You have to trust him and be patient.
Tips for a Successful Time In
Here are a few crucial tips to have a successful Time in!
Stay consistent, even if you feel like giving up. Because this is something new for you and your daughter, it may not be easy in the beginning.
But don’t lose hope! Your daughter will learn and catch on soon enough. And trust me, it will be worth it.
Follow Your daughter’s Lead
Now, this doesn’t mean if your daughter doesn’t want to go, you follow what they want. But, when you are in your calm environment, let your daughter tell you what they need.
Maybe some days they need to be by themselves, while other times they want to be held. Children need different things every day, and that is okay.
Don’t force your daughter to be held if they don’t want to. Please don’t force them to do anything. If they are mad and don’t want to come, gently guide them to the room.
Forcing your will is never the right way.
As you cannot handle decision-making and rational thinking as an adult, when angry, you cannot expect your daughter to either. Therefore, you must wait until they have calmed down entirely.
Let them come to you when they are ready. That is when you can talk about what went wrong and how to change it.
Forcing your daughter to tell a sibling, friend, or whoever they harmed they are sorry will not benefit your daughter at all. On the contrary, in some cases, it can do more harm than good!
If you force your daughter to say sorry, she will not care what it means to be genuinely sorry for her actions. Instead, it will lead them to say sorry for just about everything and expect everything to be good.
Instead, ask this question: “What do you think you can do to make things right?” Then follow through with what your daughter suggests! This is how to teach your child how to make things right in a much healthier way.
Your daughter needs to see your emotions as well. It will help to teach them how to handle their emotions effectively.
If you got upset when your child hit her friend, tell them that calmly. Sharing your emotions shows your daughter that everyone has feelings, and it is entirely okay to get upset.
Then, lead by example how you would deal with your emotions. Take that time to calm down, too, even if you aren’t particularly upset.
Time ins are the best thing you can teach your daughter. They allow your kid to learn that it is okay to take some time to process their emotions. It also teaches them how to deal with emotions healthily.
While it may be hard in the beginning, time ins are way better in the long run. Remember, this is intentional parenting, and no one said it was going to be easy. But it is achievable.
You can do this!
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