It has been a looooooong time since I have had to use this concept with my little man. He is nine already (giant gasp), unfortunately for him I still see this little baby face when I look at him. Super unfortunate when his friends are around and I want to smother him with kisses, that are now wiped off. ***But, when no one is around he melts back into that little boy and loves to snuggle his mama (shhh don’t tell).
Before he matured into the well mannered little man he is today he was a toddler, yikes! Somewhere early on in my parenting adventure I heard of this new spin on an old classic. Instead of “time out” we adopted a “thinking chair”. It was amazing. I have since passed this trick on to many friends, with tons of positive feedback. My little guy is extremely literal. The thing about this concept is time outs are meant for thinking, reflecting, learning, and growing. However if that is not clearly outlined most kids just sit there wait for the allotted time to pass, and go back to whatever they were doing. Usually their foul mood has passed, but did they learn from that experience, mmm maybe.
When I sent little man to the” thinking chair ” (we had a designated spot everywhere we went) he knew he had to think while he was there. I, of course, did the classic rule of making him wait in correlation with his current age (ie 4 minutes for a 4 year old). Very early on I started asking him questions before he could get up. As he got older the questions and answers became more in depth. It was very important to me that he understood:
What actions led to the thinking chair
How those actions affected those around him
How he would feel if the situation were reversed
How he could have handled the situation in the future
How to right his wrong and apologize
This was a great exercise. He quickly learned what was expected when he was sent to think. There were even times when he sent himself there, and even now that he is older he will say he needs some time when he gets in a mood. That is so important for people to recognize when they just need to step back and gather their thoughts. The one thing I hear across the board from all of his teachers is how well mannered and thoughtful of others he is. He learned early on to think about how his actions and words can affect other people.
Anyone who has met me knows, I LOVE communication! This exercise with little man really developed our dialog in tough situations. To this day he is a great communicator and problem solver, and I thank that little Mator Chair where all of his thinking began! I know this may seem obvious to some people, but I was a YOUNG mom and this helped me a lot.