Many tutors, relatives and parents find themselves battling with ways of modifying behavior in children. A lot of us think that going down the ‘tough’ route always does the job…..not always I may say.
Timeouts have become a quite common disciplinary action for children, but do you know that overuse can decrease its effectiveness? If the time period is too short, it belittles the punishment, and if too long can cause isolation and ultimately more negative behavior. It is a delicate balance which must be used carefully and be tailored to age/individuality. I have seen children and teenagers who are just super excited to be in their space during timeouts so you may want to try another type of reinforcement or punishment that could be in form of periods of deprivation from what they enjoy doing. At least, a four-minute timeout is most effective for elementary school students. However you should explain any kind of reinforcement used. Children need to understand why they are being punished because this helps them to identify consequences of their acts before entering into timeout. In groups e.g at home with siblings or with school mates, younger children tend to observe an action by peers, see it praised and then imitate the action hoping to receiving praise also.