I was just channel surfing on my television and happened to catch a short segment of Supernanny. I loved watching it a few years ago when it was more popular than it is today. If you've never seen it, Jo Frost, is a Brit with a lovely accent and offers practical tools to parents whose children are unruly or totally out of control. Jo goes into a home with a camera crew and observes the family's interaction, then returns to discuss with the parents what she sees and what is needed to correct and improve their behavior and relationship as a family.
One of the "tools" Jo often introduces is the "naughty step." Here is what Jo recommends:
When your child misbehaves or breaks one of the House Rules explain what she’s done wrong, tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable, and warn her that if she behaves in the same way again, she’ll be put on the Naughty Step. Make sure your voice remains calm, not angry, and use a low, authoritative tone.
If she misbehaves again, immediately put her on the Naughty Step. Explain clearly why she is there and how long she must stay there (one minute per year of her age).
I have to tell you something. I wish I had known about this technique when my children were young. NOT SO MUCH FOR MY CHILDREN, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, FOR MYSELF!
As I look back on my early parenting, I didn't utilize the TIME-OUT technique for me as a mother of two pre-schoolers. I needed to employ the technique in two distinct ways:
1.) A Time-out for calming my frustration and outbursts.
2.) A Time-out to rest and enjoy some solitude.
Although, I would employ these "time-outs" sporadically, I didn't utilize them as much as I wish I had. There were times I needed to give myself permission to pull myself away to gain my equilibrium and calm my frustrations. I came from a family of "over-reactors" and unfortunately, I followed suit. I didn't really have an older woman in my life who could give me reassurance or offer some practical tips. I just remember feeling alone and having to figure it out on my own. Even though I read a lot of books on parenting, I didn't know how to self-regulate or how to give myself grace when I blew it.
I also needed a time-out to be quiet and learn to rest. I know that may seem impossible when you have a baby and a pre-schooler running around, but I think it is something internal that I needed to cultivate. It is a rest that only comes as we learn to find our refuge in God. It's what Jesus invites us to do in Matthew 11:28:
Do you need a Time-out? Make it a priority and both you and your children will be blessed!