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Recent study shows time-outs are okay for children

HOUSTON – Results from a pediatric study show time-outs are okay, but Emily Mudd, MD, cautioned that not all kids are the same. Just because a time-out works for one child, doesn’t mean it will work for another.

The study looks at data from more than 1,000 children ages 0-3, Pre-K and fifth grade.

“What was found is there were no long-term effects for kids that were put in 'time-out’ versus those kids that weren’t, and they looked at emotional and behavioral functioning,” Mudd, who practices at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said.

She said one trick to make it productive is to keep time-outs short.

"If you are going to use time-outs and it’s something that works for your family, a good rule of thumb is to do one minute per year of age. So really, starting, not much younger than one - 18 months - would really be the youngest age we would recommend, and so, a 2-year-old would get two minutes time-out, and really at that age, it’s just really teaching them how to regulate their bodies,” Mudd said.

Results for the long-term association between use of “time-outs” and symptoms of depression, anxiety, aggression, or self-control shows there is no link.