I try to pick my battles when it comes to disciplining Luca. Along with this idea, I do not enforce time-outs for just anything. It has to be for something that is dangerous, disrespectful, or if I think she just needs a minute to regroup. The main two things I have put her in time-out for are biting my leg while I am on the phone or answering an email, and for feeding the dog. I leave her for a maximum of 2 minutes, because as a toddler, I think 2 minutes is probably plenty long.
The time-outs are backfiring though. What do I do when my child puts herself in a time-out?! It started when she started hollering for me. I went down the hall to find her pointing to Tessa eating out of the box of teddy grahams. I picked up the box and scolded the dog. Then, Luca signed "go" and went to her room to the spot I put her in when she gets a time-out. I asked "oh did you feed Tessa?", she answered yes. Now, I am realizing that she is purposely feeding Tessa in order to go into a time-out. Well, this clearly is not working!
I think what she likes most about time-out is what happens after the time-out. I go back to her, explain why she was in a time-out, ask her to say sorry, and then she has to give love. Well each time when I go back in the room, she is squealing with excitement to say sorry and give hugs.
Needless to say, the time-outs are not accomplishing quite what I wanted them to. I will keep trying them, but in the meantime, I clearly need to find some other ways to teach her that she cannot do certain things. Back to the drawing board...
Do you use time-outs? What other methods have you used to help teach your toddlers?