Time-out Refusal: School-Age Children
What to do when an older child refuses to go to time-out?
An older child can be defined as one who is too strong for the parent to take to time-out. In general, any child older than 5 years who does not take a time-out quickly should be considered a refuser, and you should escalate to a consequence that matters to him.
First, you can extend the time-out. Add one extra minute for each minute of delay. If five minutes pass and your child still has not gone to time-out, you can ground him.
"Grounded" means no TV, radio, stereo, video games, toys, telephone access, outside play, snacks, or friends over. After grounding your child, walk away and don't talk to him any more. Grounding ends as soon as your child takes his regular time-out plus the five minutes of penalty time. Until then, his day should be very boring. If he refuses the conditions of grounding, you can send him to bed 15 minutes earlier for each time he breaks the grounding rules.
If your child refuses to take time-outs despite being grounded for three days, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.