Most parents are familiar with the term “time-out” when teaching young ones that behaving poorly isn’t a good idea. But how many are familiar with the term “time-in?”


Reviewing Time-Out

Parenting children is about teaching with love, guidance and consistency, whether they behave well or not. Time-outs are used as teaching moments to discourage children from bad behavior. By putting your child in an uninteresting place for a few minutes, boredom becomes one teaching example.


Balanced Teaching with Time-In

“Time-in” is the positive side of teaching kids about behavior, acceptance and love. Offering children “time-in” means time in your presence, time in your day, time in togetherness.


Balancing a child’s way of thinking is an essential part of parenting. Helping children understand good behavior is a great way to get quality time with parents and paints a clearer teaching picture for kids.


Parenting is a constant job with many distractions that can disrupt the entire family without even realizing it. These distractions can invite bad behavior, acting out and other negative practices in children. Children need to know they matter. They strive to be noticed and loved by hands-on parents. This is what “time-in” is all about.


What Time-In Can Look Like

The great thing about “time-in” is the plethora of ways that make parent/child quality togetherness work. Each family is different. Interests, hobbies, languages, lifestyles and more are perfect subjects to utilize for endless opportunities for the best times together.


Remember, “time-in” isn’t about anything but special times together. There is no need to incorporate questioning or instruction other than a direct interest in what is happening with the child—acknowledging children’s joy, successes and interests by being present supports good behavior and self-esteem.


“Time-in” food-for-thought looks something like this:

  • Hugs and kisses work. Teasing doesn’t
  • Help offset “time-outs” that don’t feel so good with “time-in” moments children crave most
  • One-on-one attention is like a holiday for kids
  • Physical contact feels warm and inviting


Every shared moment of positive interaction counts, no matter how small. So, go ahead and laugh at that silly joke or bathroom art. It’s all about balancing “time-in” with kids.