Effective alternative for a time-out

Kim DeMarchi MEd, CPE Parent Educator, shares advice for parents on a few alternatives to time-outs in order to discipline your children which can prove to be much more effective
Effective Alternatives to Time-Outs for Children
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Effective alternative for a time-out

As an alternative to time-outs, you can do something called self-quieting time, or self-calming time, whatever your family decides upon calling it. Set it up in advance, talk to your child. Say, “Sometimes you get really, really upset and I need to move you to a different room. Where would you like your self-quieting space to be?” Let’s assume they pick their bedroom. Say, “Great. We’re going to make you a special box, called a self-calming box.” Inside that box let them put things with your help of anything that will calm them down – because remember, that’s your goal, to get them calm, to get them back into the family meal, to get them back into the preschool circle time, whatever it is. So things to go into the box – books, a snuggie, stickers, a water bottle filled with water and food coloring to shake, and a squeezy ball to get their energy out – anything that you know that would be self-calming to your child. When you find that they need to be removed from a situation, let’s say that they start to get really upset, go to them, use a calm voice. Look at them, touch them gently and say, “Honey, it looks like you need some self-quieting time. Do you want to go to your calming space?” Now, you’ve already talked about this, so hopefully, they go. If they don’t go, you say, “It looks like you need some self-calming time. You can go to your space or mommy’s going to help you.” And if they don’t go, you pick them up and you take them into their space. Once there, you can stay, or you can go. Time-out is not a deep, dark dungeon. It doesn’t have to be. Time-out is the goal is to get my child calm again. So you can stay. With one of my children, he didn’t want me to stay. My other child, I put my arms out, she melted into my arms completely calmed down.

Kim DeMarchi MEd, CPE Parent Educator, shares advice for parents on a few alternatives to time-outs in order to discipline your children which can prove to be much more effective


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Kim DeMarchi, MEd, CPE

Parent Educator

is an Oregon resident, in the United States, with 18 year old boy/girl twins in the Tigard Tualatin School District, and has been an educator for almost three decades. She began her career as an elementary school teacher for 12 years, then worked as an elementary school administrator for 6 years, and then decided to dedicate herself to teaching parenting classes and workshops exclusively. Kim is trained and certified through a program called Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, as well by the International Network for Children and Families, in a program called Redirecting Children‘s Behavior. She also has taken recent trainings in the areas of Youth Mental Health First Aid, Adult Mental Health First Aid, ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Trauma Informed Care, Smart Voices/Smart Choices: Parents Talking with Kids about Mental Wellness and Substance Use, and Making the Connection: Stress, Teen Brains & Building Resilience. Kim is active in supporting her local parenting community by providing workshops, classes, coaching families and writing monthly articles for two local newspapers Tualatin Times and Tigard Times. Kim is a monthly guest on KATU's Afternoon Live and an occasional guest on KATU's AM Northwest television show doing parenting segments. Kim also reaches thousands internationally through her close to one hundred 30 minute parenting podcasts found on her website. Additionally, Kim recently made her fifth trip to Asia during the last few years to teach and share her passion in raising cooperative, respectful, resilient and responsible children. Kim’s goal for you is to help reduce conflict, foster mutual respect, and create deeper communication and connections with your loved ones.

You can reach Kim and her resources at her website:

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