Simmer Time

Toddler temper tantrums are no fun! Emily Blewett walks us through Moms on Call’s Technique for opening our littles’ hearts for instruction.

Not your ordinary time out. Simmer Time is a discipline tool that will open up our children’s heart to instruction. We use this consequence when implementing the three point teaching technique referenced in Moms on Call’s No Nonsense Toddler Book. This is an effective, positive, and helpful tool, but it requires time and patience.

What age can I start to implement Simmer Time?

15 Months and Older

Why should we implement Simmer Time?

The goal of Simmer Time is to give you and your child time to calm down in a separate environment.

“There is wisdom in modeling the importance of taking breaks (Simmer Time) and not speaking in anger. ‘In your anger do not sin’ (Ephesians 4:26). That Scripture reminds us we’re going to feel strong emotions. Feelings are just feelings. The important thing is what we do with the feelings.” – Goff, S., Trevathan, M. M., & Thomas, D. L. (2017).Are My Kids on Track?: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach

We cannot place important truths into our child’s heart in the midst of a tantrum. It is Simmer Time that opens up their heart to instruction. By helping them learn to control their frustration and calm down. It’s also an effective time for us to regroup, simmer down and plan our special HUG moment.

What does it look like?

It looks different for each family. The goal is, that once you have consistently implemented simmer time correctly with the three point teaching technique you shouldn’t have to use it often. I started off implementing Simmer Time with my daughter when she was 15 months old. We began with 5 minutes then as she got older, I realized I was having to put her in Simmer Time more, so I increased the time to 10 minutes then again I noticed we were having to use it more often and I increased the time to 15 minutes. I now put her in Simmer Time for 10-15 minutes.

We cannot be successful with our HUG moment until they settle down and that window opens. This is when our opportunity to really make a difference and place important truths into our child’s heart.

My daughter is Social by Design, which means she doesn’t like to be put in Simmer Time because she is separated from people and boy does she loves people. I would set the timer on my phone then go in when it was time for Simmer Time to be over and I would hold her, give her a 1-2 minutes to calm down and love on her then say our HUG moment. She would throw the biggest tantrum while in Simmer Time. I recall the first time that she ever climbed out of her crib was in Simmer Time. Once she was in a big girl bed, we had her room completely child-proofed and during Simmer Time, she would pull and bang at the door and scream. She’d even put her cute little fingers under the door and yell for me. It was hard for me at times, but I knew in my heart this was the best thing for us to both be separated and have time to calm down.

By using the three point teaching technique and following through with the consequence of Simmer Time:

  •  We kept our frustration from escalating into anger.
  •  Proved that we are reliable, confident, and trustworthy.
  • Showed that forgiveness is always available in our household.
  • Helped our toddler recognize the importance of their behavior.
  • Allowed our toddler to take responsibility for their misbehavior.
  • Best of all, we were able to become their biggest supporter by telling them we believed in their ability to do what we asked them to do!

Where should Simmer Time be?

A safe and separate environment from you.

  • Their Crib
  • If no longer in their crib then their room is completely child-proofed. You will want to also make sure you can lock the door, which we already do at night to keep them safe.
  • We want Simmer Time to have light and space and for it be a safe environment.

What we do..

Take one piece of red construction paper and tape and place it in a drawer in their room. When they get put into Simmer Time, we place the red piece of construction paper very purposefully (where they can see it but not touch it) on our way out and then get out.

I did this for a few months when first implementing Simmer Time with my daughter. Once Harper understood the concept of Simmer Time then I no longer needed to put the red construction paper up. Because of this, she has never had a negative association with her crib or room because of Simmer Time. They will understand the difference and their room will still be their safe little haven.

Then when we do our HUG moment, I would take Harper over to the red construction paper and point to it and say, “You got put into Simmer Time because…”

You’ve got this!

By implementing the three point teaching technique and following through with Simmer Time, then having the HUG moment, you are helping your child gain perspective. But more importantly, you are placing important truths in their heart and showing them you see them and love them.

See the Moms on Call Toddler Book for more information on how to effectively utilize the three point teaching technique, Simmer Time, and the HUG moment (you’ll be glad you did)! Plus they have cheat sheets in the back of their book that cover certain behaviors that we all struggle with at one time or another with our toddler. The cheat sheets tell you exactly what to say and do! It is a lifesaver!

Emily Blewett, RN, BSN, CLC is a proud mom, NICU Nurse, and Certified Moms on Call Baby & Toddler Sleep Consultant. Emily combines the expertise of a nurse with the care and concern of a mom to partner with you on this wonderful, yet at times confusing and exhausting, parenting adventure. She has referenced “Moms on Call No Nonsense Toddler Book, 15 months-4 years” along with “Goff, S., Trevathan, M. M., & Thomas, D. L. (2017). Are My Kids on Track?: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach”.

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