February's Tool Card*:
Positive Time Out (PTO)
In keeping with Dr. Siegel's explanation of what happens in our brain when we get upset, I chose "Positive Time Out" for this month's tool card. Here's Jane Nelsen's take on it:
People do better when they feel better. Positive time-out helps us cool off and feel better.
1. Create a time-out space with your children. Let them decide what it will look like and what is in it.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the time-out spot is to feel better so better choices and decisions can be made. So what is it that helps your child feel better? A favorite blankie, or toy, or book? That's what goes in the PTO.
2. Let them give it a special name.
For a great example of naming the PTO spot, check this out. In our culture, "time out" has earned a well-deserved negative reputation (because it's been used in a punitive way) so I'm all in favor of getting away from the term altogether. In Ben's second-grade class, the cool-off spot was called "Australia" because a sea turtle lived in a tank in that part of the room. Watching that turtle was a wonderful way for upset kids to cool down quickly.
3. When they are upset, ask, "Would it help to go to your ______ place?"
It's an invitation, or suggestion, not a demand. There will come a time when your child goes to the PTO spot on her own. She will have learned to take care of herself in this way.
4. Model using PTO by going to your own special place when you are upset.
This is fabulous long-term parenting! It's modeling the life-skill of self-care, showing respect for yourself and those around you. And truly, you DO better when you FEEL better.
*Positive Discipline Parenting Tools
52 cards to improve your parenting skills
by Jane Nelsen and Adrian Garsia. Now available in SPANISH!!