Time-Ins is a parenting term that refers to a positive discipline strategy where a caregiver spends quality time with the child during a difficult moment or when they display undesirable behavior. Instead of isolating the child, the parent or caregiver uses the opportunity to guide them towards understanding emotions and proper behavior, helping them grow emotionally and socially. This method emphasizes the importance of connection, empathy, and communication between the parent and the child.

Key Takeaways

  1. Time-ins are a positive discipline technique that encourages emotional awareness and connection between the parent and child, as opposed to time-outs that isolate and punish.
  2. During a time-in, the parent or caregiver stays with the child and helps them understand and process their emotions, fostering communication and empathy.
  3. Time-ins can help build a strong emotional bond, promote better behavior and understanding in children, and equip them with essential emotional regulation skills for the future.


Time-Ins is an important parenting term because it signifies a positive approach to teaching children effective emotional regulation and developing healthy attachment with their caregivers.

Unlike Time-Outs, which rely on isolation and withdrawal of attention, Time-Ins strengthen parent-child relationships by encouraging open communication, empathy, and understanding.

Through this strategy, children feel supported in working through their emotions, and learn to express their feelings in a constructive manner.

Overall, Time-Ins provide an opportunity for parents to foster emotional intelligence and resilience in their children, ensuring long-term social and emotional wellbeing.


Time-Ins have gained popularity in the realm of positive parenting as a modern technique to encourage meaningful connections between parents and children. Their primary purpose is to create an opportunity for parents and children to engage in a nurturant, supportive interaction during a challenging situation.

This is in contrast to the traditional Time-Out strategy, which emphasizes isolation and withdrawal of attention. By focusing on connection, understanding, and guidance, Time-Ins are meant to foster better communication and emotional regulation, consequently promoting a stronger parent-child bond.

Used to address various behavioral and emotional challenges in a child’s life, Time-Ins encourage a problem-solving approach instilled with empathy and kindness. When a child experiences a difficult moment or exhibits inappropriate behavior, a Time-In allows the parent to connect with the child in a calm manner, acknowledging their feelings while offering guidance towards a healthier response.

This approach allows the child to feel heard and understood, ultimately leading to increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence. As a result, Time-Ins not only contribute to a child’s developmental growth but also serve to build a lasting foundation of trust, communication, and mutual respect between parent and child.

Examples of Time-Ins

Time-ins are a positive discipline technique used by parents to empathize, teach, and connect with their children during challenging moments. They are meant to promote emotional regulation, communication, and resilience. Here are three real-world examples of time-ins:

Tantrum in the Grocery Store: A parent is shopping with their 4-year-old child, who starts throwing a tantrum because they do not get a toy they wanted. The parent recognizes the child’s frustration and finds a quiet spot in the store. During the time-in, the parent empathizes with their child by saying, “I understand you’re upset because you wanted the toy, but we’re not buying toys today.” The parent then helps the child to calm down using deep breaths and explains the importance of self-regulation and patience.

Sibling Conflict: Two siblings are arguing over a game they are playing. The parent observes the situation and decides to intervene. The parent calls for a time-in to help resolve the conflict. They sit down with both children, listen to their feelings and concerns, and ask them to think of possible solutions to the problem. The parent guides the children in recognizing each other’s feelings and helps them understand fairness and cooperation.

Bedtime Resistance: A child is resisting bedtime and becomes upset when they have to stop playing their favorite video game. The parent calls for a time-in and sits with the child in their bedroom. The parent acknowledges the child’s feelings and validates their disappointment. They then explain the importance of a consistent bedtime routine for maintaining good health and better focus during the day. Together, the parent and child create a plan for transitioning from playtime to bedtime more smoothly.

Time-Ins FAQ

1. What are Time-Ins?

A Time-In is a positive discipline technique used by parents to help their child manage their emotions and behaviors. Instead of giving a Time-Out as a form of punishment, a Time-In encourages the child to take a few moments to reflect on their feelings and actions, and then provides guidance and support to improve their understanding and promote desired behaviors.

2. How do Time-Ins differ from Time-Outs?

Time-Outs are used to isolate the child from a situation and make them feel punished, while Time-Ins are about helping the child to understand their emotions and actions by talking it through with them. Time-Ins promote communication and empathy, whereas Time-Outs can sometimes create a disconnect between the parent and the child.

3. What is the purpose of using Time-Ins?

The purpose of Time-Ins is to help children understand their emotions and behaviors, learn how to manage them effectively, and develop healthy coping skills. Time-Ins also help create a strong parent-child bond by nurturing communication, empathy, and understanding between the parent and the child.

4. At what age should I start using Time-Ins with my child?

Time-Ins can be used for children as young as 2-3 years old. It’s important to adjust the technique according to the child’s age and understanding level. For younger children, Time-Ins can involve sitting together, giving hugs, and providing simple explanations. As children grow older, Time-Ins can be made more effective with conversations and discussions about their emotions and behaviors.

5. How do I properly implement a Time-In?

To properly implement a Time-In, follow these steps:

  1. When you notice a situation where your child is struggling with their emotions or behaviors, calmly lead them to a quiet and comfortable place.
  2. Reassure your child that they are not in trouble and that you are there to help them.
  3. Guide your child through calming techniques, such as deep breaths or counting to 10.
  4. Discuss what led to the upsetting emotion or behavior and help them to identify the causes.
  5. Encourage your child to think of alternative ways to manage their feelings and improve their behavior.

Related Parenting Terms

  • Emotional Regulation
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Active Listening
  • Empathy and Connection
  • Conflict Resolution

Sources for More Information