A couple of weekends ago, we went up to Pemberton area (the week before the Festival) to dog-sit my girlfriend's 2 dogs. Unfortunately, we forgot our camera and do not have any photos from our relaxing weekend away from home. "Dog-sitting" sounds like a job, but really, it was a fun weekend away at the "Bush ranch", as we like to call it. The 3 dogs ran around the acres of property and just enjoyed each other's company. Josh was so overwhelmed by the plethora of toys (Nicole runs a family daycare in her home), he was absolutely nutty! And we even managed to go into Whistler and wander around the village for a couple of hours. I am truly bummed that we have no photos of our weekend.
With all the excitement and new surroundings, Josh managed to get himself into a little bit of trouble. At home, he has been sufficiently scolded that he rarely plays with Nikita's food and water bowls. But at the Bush ranch, their water bowl for the dogs is about 5 times as big as ours and always full of water. It's like a wee kiddie pool! Josh would not stop splashing and throwing stuff in the water bowl. Finally, we threatened him with his first time out and when he wouldn't stop, I pulled him out of the situation and gave him a time out.
In my head, a time out seemed pretty straight forward. I mean, I've seen Nanny 911 put kids on the naughty mat many times! Should be easy, right? Wrong. There is actually a whole methodology and best practices for time out. And when you are in the heat of a time out moment, having that methodology really helps! Unfortunately, I did not know this the first time around and we muddled our way through a very unsuccessful time out!
Firstly, a time out should generally last as many minutes as the child's age in years (e.g. Josh is 1.5 years-old and should get a 1.5 minute time out). I would have just left Josh in the time out until he realized the error of his ways or just completely gave in to me (realizing, of course, that it would never happen that way!).
Secondly, the whole point of the time out is punishment by boredom! I did not know that! So, basically, you remove the child from the situation and place them somewhere quiet and isolating. You leave them alone so all they can do is sit there. I actually sat with Josh in his timeout and tried to get him to apologize to me for what he did. Wrong! I should have just left him there by himself. The time out is also a time out for the parent to cool off and you can't do that by constantly badgering your child for an apology!
Lastly, when the time out is over, it is over. There should be no threats of "if you do that again..." and no further consequence. Even hugging and making up can help too.
Having failed miserably at the first time out, Brian and I researched, re-grouped and came to an agreement how our time outs would work. Last week, Brian and Josh were at home and Josh decided he needed to put all his shoes in Nikita's water bowl. That was grounds for an immediate time out! Brian sat him in a corner facing a wall and Josh was so compliant that Brian was able to walk away and take a photo! He sat quietly for over 1.5 minutes (why stop a good thing?!) and when Brian told him he was done his time out, they hugged and Josh went on with playing.
Well, we thought we were time out experts now! We thought that we have our rock solid punishment that will help us to teach Josh his boundaries in our family! Ha. Josh had different ideas. He has since had 2 time outs and both were gong shows. Josh has discovered when he doesn't just sit there and tries to get away, we go after him and put him back in the corner. Hey look! It's a game! He finds it very funny, too. Ugh. So, we're back at square one again with time outs and trying to find ways to discipline our nutty child. Anyone have any ideas?!