Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holy Feedback, Batman!

Mamapedia published my article on Time Outs on November, 3, and I just now found it! Whoops!!

I get a time out.

A LOT of the (65!!!) commenters left questions, and I'm going to try to answer them here. Expect to see a lot about discipline in this space over the next little while.

Yes, of course I'm hosting Thanksgiving in two days. And doing most of the cooking, sure. And I finally started writing my sitcom today, and why wouldn't I take on one more project? Hahaha...

I was stumped on the very first comment...
My son has a low language level, and doesn't usually understand most of what I'm trying to tell him. So putting him in timeouts has been very frustrating, I can't help him understand why he's in timeout. Do you have any suggestions?
I wish you had mentioned your son's age. If you happen to be reading, please comment with more details.

My first suggestion is to act it out for him. Put yourself on the step or the rug and say, "Mommy is in time out. This is how we take a time out. Can you take a time out?" I think if you repeat the phrase "time out" over and over again, he might pick it up, depending on what his specific delay is.

Also, be very careful that you're not giving him time outs when he hasn't understood your instructions/expectations. You don't want to punish him for his low language level, right? In your situation, I would only give time outs (or any consequences/punishment) when you're sure that he has understood you and willfully disobeyed.

Is his expressive language delayed, or his receptive language, or both? Does he have hearing or speech difficulties? Could you draw a picture of what you expect him to do in time out and show it to him? Maybe could you find an illustrated book where a child takes a time out, and read it to him? Could you have other children demonstrate time outs for him? Make up a time out song? (I know that sounds crazy, but the "clean up" song from preschool does amazing things for my kids' motivation to clean!) How do you teach him other things? Remember that you have to teach him how to do a time out (just like you teach him how to eat with a spoon or drink from a cup) in order for the time out to then become a teaching tool. That's why I started so early with my kids (at 12 months old). When they were that little, it was more for practice than anything else!

It has been a long time since I worked with kids with special needs, so I'm pretty rusty. I know that even the children that I worked with who were institutionalized got time outs. Time outs are supposed to work with extremely low-IQ children. Although, what's the point if they don't understand, right?

I have some of the smartest readers in the world, many of whom are educators. Please, guys, leave comments (on the blog, not on Facebook!!) if you have suggestions for this mom.

I may not sleep until January...

1 comment:

Mrs4444 said...

I think your advice is good; especially the visual cue idea. Visual cues work great for kids with communicative disorders. Having visual "checklists" for what he has to do that day (or just for his routine) are helpful for adding structure that kids need; maybe his misbehavior would improve if this type of idea what implemented. I would also consult with a speech and language pathologist (therapist) through a school district. She/He might have more ideas....