Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time Out

Meltdown mode will commence in 3...2...1...

I think Blake wanted to watch videos of himself on the computer and I didn't want to. I probably could have just sat at the computer for another 15 minutes, but we had already watched videos earlier that morning and I wanted to take him to the park before it got too hot.

Apparently he didn't like that idea. So a full-on tantrum was in order. I tried to ignore it. I tried to say things like, "I know you want to watch videos of yourself, but let's go to the park! Can you find your shoes?" I tried getting ready to go outside, but the tantrum continued. I thought it would help if I just got him dressed and in his stroller. Usually once we are outside he gets distracted and he's back to his happy self.

But then I could smell the trash. Ugh, the trash needed to be taken out. Couldn't I just do it when we got back from the park? I suppose. But then as soon as we walked into the apartment we'd be knocked over by the smell of whatever was rotting in our trash. And I knew we were going to be hot and sweaty when we came back. The thought of sweating and smelling rotting trash wasn't so appealing. So I proceed to get the trash ready to take outside.

Enter Angry Blake.
Angry Blake, the early years
(This is the only crying picture I have of Blake. No one takes pictures of their kid's tantrums!)

Taking out the trash is a relatively easy, although loathsome, task. But it's anything but easy and 10 times more loathsome when Angry Blake is around. He was already upset because I wouldn't let him do what he wanted to do. So he decided to do everything I didn't want him to do. Like play with the dustpan. Or the trashcan lid. I could feel my sanity slipping away. I needed a time out. He needed a time out. THE WHOLE WORLD NEEDED A TIME OUT!

Blake is only 14 months old, so I don't generally handle his tantrums with time-outs. I try to distract him with something else, explain why he can't do something or why I need him to do something (like wear a diaper), and give him lots of love after he's calmed down. But this tantrum was getting out of control and I didn't feel like I could deal with it in an appropriate way.

So I put Blake in his crib with his blanket and pacifier and turned off the lights. There was no crying. He laid down and in a few minutes I could hear him laughing. At that point I was ready to get him and take him to the park. And we had a blast! (Although seriously how hard is it to throw your trash away, people! There are trashcans all over the playground for you to use!)

Regular Blake

I don't know why, but I've never been a fan of time-outs. Maybe it's because when I've seen them used they don't seem to work. I'm not opposed to using something if it works. But I don't think I'll be using time outs on a regular basis because I feel like Blake is still too young to understand why he's getting a time out. For now I'll reserve them for the times when we both need a few minutes to calm down.

Just curious, do you use time outs and how early did you start? Do you feel like they are effective?


Lindsay said...

Though I don't usually consider them time outs, I do put my boys in the crib/on their bed occasionally when it's pretty obvious that they just need a break from the world. It's not punishment, and we both know that, it's just a break. And they usually love it -- they also usually recognize that they desperately need it. After a couple minutes of alone time, they're happy again and ready to play (or sometimes they're sound asleep...either way, they got what they needed). And I've done this pretty much since they were born because sometimes we just need a break -- from the world, from each other, whatever.

Also, I highly recommend taking pictures of Blake throwing tantrums. It has a way of making the situation incredibly comical, and then you can go back and look at the photos later and laugh together about how ridiculous they look. I do that with both of my boys; they think it's hilarious, and I have some super awesome photos of them screaming. (See here, for example:

Nina @ Momma Go Round said...

This is such a tough one. I don't remember exactly when we started doing time outs, but I want to say it was when we all knew that he was doing something he knew he wasn't supposed too, had been told no a few times, but was still doing it. We keep them short so he doesn't get all worked up and forget why he's on time out. For Landon they totally work and he knows he needs to say sorry after.