Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And Three…That’s Time Out

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michael had thrown a tantrum that was so intense that I had no idea how to handle it. I picked up a copy of 1, 2, 3 Magic and decided to give it a try. We were also struggling with him dropping his nap as well as a mild stomach bug that lasted for 10 days. By the time I was ready to start 1, 2, 3ing, Michael had adjusted to the new bedtime and recovered from his tummy bug. He was back to his normal, mostly sweet self and Andy and I were relieved.

I have had a few minor situations where I have started to count, and only once did I get to 3. I informed Michael that he was going into time out and placed him on the step. He sat down happily and continued to sit there. After two minutes, I told him he could get up. He continued to sit there, oblivious to the fact that he had just been subjected to a punishment. It did at least distract him from what he was doing, and I was able to get him ready for bed, but I really didn’t feel like he had gotten any message at all from the process.

Last night before bed, Michael was getting a little slap happy. I wanted to get him ready a little early because it was clear that he needed the sleep. However, Michael wasn’t going for it. He wanted to play with his T-Rex. This particular T-Rex has an articulated jaw and sharp teeth. Michael decided that T-Rex wanted to bite mommy. T-Rex never actually bit mommy because that would result in an instant time out. Instead, T-Rex kept nibbling at my shirt. Great, now I have to discipline a dinosaur.

“T-Rex, that’s one.”

Nibble, nibble.

“T-Rex, that’s two.”

Nibble, nibble.

“T-Rex, that’s three.” I took the T-Rex from Michael’s hands and placed him on the time out step. That sure stopped Michael for a moment. He wanted to play with him, but I explained that T-Rex had tried to bite mommy and that he needed to stay in time out. So, Michael leaned over and tried to bite me.

“Michael, that’s one.”

Nibble, nibble.

“Michael, that’s two.”

Nibble, nibble.

“Michael, that’s three.” And I picked him up and put him on the step. “T-Rex, that was good. You can come out of timeout,” I said as I picked up T-Rex and walked away. That worked. All of the sudden, it clicked. Michael wasn’t happy about it, but he didn’t try to bite me again either.

I didn’t ask Andy what he thought about me putting T-Rex in timeout, and I probably never will. I don’t think I want to know what was going through his mind as he watched me discipline a little plastic toy. I’m just really glad that it worked. Can you imagine the teasing if it hadn't?


LauraC said...

LOTS of things in our house have been in time out - kitty cats, Moby nightlights, even myself when I yelled at the boys one night. Half the time Nate doesn't care about going in time out but the intention is not to upset them, but give them a breather.

Beth said...

Oh yes--we give time-outs to inanimate objects, too! If any toy is used to hurt someone, it goes on top of the fridge and can't be played with until the next day. I love how Michael tested you, though,a nd how you responded. I also liked Maria's explanation of "Stop and Think" and have been using that with William. It's helped a lot. He gets REALLY upset when he has a time out, so repeating "stop and think" gets him to calm down.

Mel said...

The things we will try!! Glad that approach worked for you. I've heard about the 1 2 3 Magic book. I need to read it. Only in the last couple of weeks (coincidentally after bringing the baby home) has Analese thrown some pretty wild temper tantrums. She has NEVER been a tantrum thrower before. And the WHINING!!!! I cannot stand it!

Anonymous said...

We haven't yet put a toy into timeout (but then again we don't really use timeouts). We have, however, "had a talk with" a lot of things. If Cole runs into a table he'll say, "Mama, have a talk with that table," and I have to talk with the table about being more careful. My favorite was when he asked me to "have a talk with Daddy" when DH accidentally bumped into him.

Steph said...

We've had time outs for toys before too- the things we do as parents :)