How to Apply Time-out Outside Your Home
Even after achieving success with time-out at home, many parents report difficulty in applying it away from home. Why the difference? Children are good at recognizing when we are especially likely to “give in” to them, and most parents are a bit wishy-washy when children test our limits where others may see our responses. As a result, even children who do very well at home may whine for a treat at the mall or complain in a restaurant.
Since you are more likely to succeed with time-out away from home after you have achieved consistent compliance with it at home, wait to use it elsewhere until you are confident of the response at home. Then both you and your child will understand how it works and know what to expect. Because each situation calls for somewhat different preparation, I will discuss effective steps for dealing with children who typically cause significant challenges to their parents during shopping at a supermarket, eating dinner in a sit-down restaurant, and during car trips. While these are the situations parents express most concern about, the approach can be adapted to other situations as the need arises.
To assure the best possible outcome, set the stage as constructively as possible. The process will go most smoothly if you think of your effort as your special project for the day, giving it precedence over whatever else you might accomplish along the way. And it is a good idea to start with both you and your child rested and in a good mood.