Simmer time

Simmer Time

Toddler temper tantrums can be challenging. At Moms on Call, we implement "Simmer Time" as a form of discipline. Doing so will help open up your little one's heart to instruction and teach them to manage their actions. Today we are answering our most commonly asked questions about Simmer Time, including what it is when to begin, how/where to implement it, and how doing so can help your little one learn to manage their actions and frustrations.

At What Age Do We Begin to Implement Simmer Time?

  • We can begin to implement simmer time for toddlers 15 months and up! This is typically around the age we begin to see defiant behavior.

What is Simmer Time?

  • Simmer Time is what "time out" should really look like to be effective, positive and helpful.
    • The common myth of "one minute per year of age" will NOT open your child’s heart.
    • Instead, we recommend they stay in a safe and separate environment until they stop crying or long enough that they begin to not like it. If we go in too soon, it isn't effective. We simply cannot teach in the midst of a crying fit or tantrum.
  • Once they settle down, then we can move forward.
  • By placing a toddler in Simmer Time, it helps them to take responsibility for their actions.
    • The best way for them to learn how to manage the frustration of a consequence is to allow them time to “simmer.” Learning to manage their actions and frustrations takes time and opportunity!

Where to Implement Simmer Time:

  • Simmer Time should be done in a safe place:
    • A completely child-proofed room that has light and space. One where they cannot see you.
      • They will kick and scream and then look up to make sure you are watching. So it is best to stay out of sight!
    • You can use a pack ‘n play if your child does not know how to climb out.
      • If doing so, we recommend a pack ’n play that is a different color than the one used for sleeping during vacation.
    • If you prefer to use your child’s room, then take two pieces of construction paper, one red and one green. Place the paper securely, higher than 4 feet up and near the door so that you can turn it to the red side when they are in their room for Simmer Time and on the green side when they are in there for naps or playtime.
      • On your way out of their room for Simmer Time, place it very purposefully on the red side. Do not look at them, do not explain it to them, do not do anything but place it on the red side and then get out fast.

When to Implement Simmer Time and How:

  • We begin with what we call the "Three Point Teaching Technique".
    • We identify the unwanted behavior.
    • We state the consequence. (ie: Simmer time)
    • We teach the desired behavior.
    • Most importantly, we follow through with discipline when they misbehave again. This makes you trustworthy, and they learn that there are consequences for their unwanted actions.
  • Simmer Time lasts until they either calm down or until they are asking to come out (typically somewhere between 5-20 minutes).
    • If they make it to 15 or 20 minutes, then you can go in and soothe them but wait until they are finished crying before you have your {HUG} moment.
  • We only use for misbehaviors and tantrums, not for crying over an injury or a broken toy.
  • We do not have to catch every infraction. Use this as consistently as reality allows and with grace.
    • We are doing this so we can get that {HUG} moment at the end.
  • Do not let them see you sweat. Be sure your face is confident and we aren't making "stress face" (you know, that furrowed brow look). This is an engagement-free zone until we come back for the {HUG} moment.
  • Once they have calmed down, we go in and have our {HUG} moment:
    • H – hold them close
    • U – Use confident face
    • G – Give positive feedback
      • Example: “You are here because you did not listen to Mommy and climbed on the bookshelf. But I know that you can listen to Mommy and I know you will be great at playing safely! Let’s go play on your slide. I know you’ll be great at it!”

We are teaching our children that we are trustworthy! We are teaching them about forgiveness and that no matter what WE are there for them.

This is just a glimpse at the techniques we share and teach in our books, Online Courses and Toddler by Design app. We have so many more tips and tricks to share with you! In the Online Courses, you’ll find our popular Toddler by Design seminar and the first of its kind SMART paradigm that breaks down the different toddler designs — Social, Movement, An Engineer, Rule Follower and Touch. Then, you can take the quiz in our Toddler by Design app to help you determine what unique design combination your child exhibits and get tips on how that affects general life including tips for sleep, tantrums, feeding and potty training.

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