I’ve been around children enough to know that they’re going to be a handful at various times. I spent most Saturday nights during my teenaged years babysitting for a family around the corner (and I don’t count when I used to watch my sibs because, frankly, one’s own sibs are going to be enough of a handful when you’re left in charge), and I’ve been around friends’ children enough. Plus, my mother was a nursery school teacher, which gave me ample opportunity to see how children around the Monster’s age act.
And the Monster certainly isn’t acting out more than a child his age would – in many ways, he’s a far more compliant child than a lot of the ones we run into. We have friends who seem to constantly be trying to keep their children in line, and I know that I hear sufficient horror stories from my coworkers about how their kids can act out. Our Monster is generally a very happy, very lovable and loving child who is quite content to work within whatever boundaries he’s given, to the extend that he tries to explore those boundaries.
But yesterday is a case in point. My wife turned her back for a minute or so and our son managed to get his hands on her scissors. Thankfully, the only damage done was to his own hair (which is only funnier to me since that’s exactly where I was at the moment this happened – getting my hair cut) in a swath about an inch or so wide, in the middle of his forehead so it’s quite noticeable. When she yelled at him for doing it, he just starts screaming back.
Everyone I’ve spoken to suggests time-out at this point, but somewhere other than his room. The problem is that he doesn’t understand the concept of ‘time-out’ if I put him anywhere else besides his room (which is gated) – he’ll get up from wherever we put him and roam around. I’m sorely tempted to get a booster seat that I can strap him into, but I don’t want him to associate getting punished with his car seat if it has a similar restraint, or with coming to the dining room table. The fact that his verbal communication skills are delayed only further complicates things – we can’t talk to him about why what he did was bad/wrong, but rather it feels more like we’re talking at him about it.
I’m open to suggestions….
Any child will get up from time out at first, or even as time goes on. You can buy a specific chair or mat that is designated for time out. You may have to keep walking him back to it and say “no play, time out,” but hopefully he will get it. If he does start to stay for a few minutes on his own, as a time out shoud be no more than his age anyway, you could get a timer that signals when he can get up.
The problem of kids getting up from a time out is definitely not limited to kids w/ ASD – Rosie does it all the time. We’ve had great success with the time out method in 1-2-3 Magic (as have many of our friends) and I understand that many parents in your situation find that that model works for them. We borrowed the books and videos from our library.