One of the most effective time out procedures for children from preschool through the elementary grades that I have seen was developed by Thomas Phelan. It is called 1-2-3 Magic. What is best about this procedure is that it is simple to administer. Parents often find that by following the clear steps, they note significant improvement in their children’s behavior.
The overriding philosophy that Dr. Phelan employs is that children are basically like wild animals and that you need to be the lion tamer. A lion tamer does not beg and plead with the lion to behave. (Unless of course the tamer would like to be eaten) By treating the interaction this way, it is often easier for a parent to remain calm.
There are essentially 2 rules that a parent needs to master. One is the no talking rule. This means that when administering a time out, you say as little as possible. Offer no explanations to the child. Do not engage in arguments, discussions, pleading, etc.
The second rule is the no emotion rule. This is a tough one. When your child has done the same thing over and over again and you are about to tear your hair out, displaying no emotion is a major challenge. If you feel you cannot control yourself, give yourself a time out (go to YOUR room) until you feel calm enough to deal with the problem. Once you have gained control of yourself, you then calmly administer the procedure (which has been explained to your child previously in a family meeting).
First, you tell your child what you want them to stop doing and say, "That’s 1". If they stop, you are done. If not, say "That’s 2" If then they stop, you are done. If they still continue to argue, plead or whatever they are trying to do, say, "That’s 3. Take 5" This means they need to go to their room for 5 minutes. (Actually, tailor the time to the age of the child. 2 minutes for a 2 year old, 3 for a 3 year old, on up to a 5 year old and older who all get 5 minutes in their room.
Once the time out is over, the matter is dropped. No lectures, recriminations, scoldings, whatever. If your child asks for an explanation, you may give it to them but if they start to argue, return to the time out procedure.