Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Time-Out
Time-out is a technique used to teach young children how to
control their behavior. Time-out is an opportunity for
the child to calm down or regain control of his or her behavior. If your child has trouble sharing a toy, you may even decide to put the toy in time-out.
It works best when your child is old enough to understand. This is usually around age 3 years. Time-out also works best when the usual behavior of parents is to make
frequent, brief, physical contact with the child when he or she is behaving as
expected (an activity called time-in).
Time-out works best when
your child is doing something he or she knows is not acceptable and just won't
stop, such as hitting or biting. Time-out is not effective if it is used too
often or if it is used for behaviors that are not within a child's control. For
example, time-out is not appropriate for a child who accidentally wets his or
her clothes instead of using the toilet.
Before you start a
The time-out procedure includes telling your child why he or
she is going to time-out. State only once, "Time-out for having a temper
While your child is in time-out:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.