“Sometimes these littles just want to be validated,” says Mortensen. “Time-ins give me an opportunity to let them know that I understand how they feel and I love them, but I don’t love their behavior. Sometimes, that’s all they need.”
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Instead of isolating your toddler and punishing them for their misbehavior and poor conduct, try to help them emote properly. Get to the root cause of the issue at hand and figure out why their lashing out. Mortensen offers an anecdote that can help elaborate this strategy:
[Mortensen’s toddler] has an affinity for sticking her feet in my face, which is so gross. I noticed she was doing this while I was playing cars with [Mortensen’s youngest]. So, instead of immediately sending her to time-out, I asked her a question: “[Her toddler], why are you putting your feet in my face?”
“I dunno, Mom. I just want you to play with me,” she responded.
“Come here, [her toddler],” I said
I pulled her toward me, gave her a hug, and said, “I love you so much. You’re so special to me. I love spending time with you. I love having time just you and me. But I don’t love what you’re doing. I don’t ever want your feet in my face. That’s really gross and inappropriate.”
I continued, “Let’s all play cars with [her youngest] until he goes to sleep. Then you and I can do anything you’d like for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Deal?”
“Deal,” she replied.
Clearly the source of the problem is the toddler’s inability to express what’s bothering her. The result was a fit of frustration and misbehavior. However, instead of isolating the toddler by assessing a time-out, Mortensen solved the problem by assessing a time-in.
The child’s behavior was noted as being unacceptable but the situation was managed and addressed in a more effective way. If you want to try using the time-in method with your toddler the key is to let the child feel that they’ve done something wrong when they act up. Instead of punishing them through isolation, let them spend time with you, by your side. Let them know that they’re still loved, but their behavior was unacceptable.
What do you think of Mortensen’s idea and use of the time-in method, parents? Would you use it on your toddler?
Original article on Parenting.com.