Spanking is not a strong discipline tool: Use time outs instead


  • Most children don’t respond to spanking because they don’t understand the connection between their behavior and being hit.
  • Use time outs, tell your child what behavior is good, give clear instructions, and model how you want them to act.

It’s important to remember that discipline is about teaching, and spanking is not a good way to teach your children. Children are people too, and it’s not acceptable to hit other adults, so we don’t recommend ever spanking your child. Using positive instructions to tell your child when they’re doing something well, modeling good behavior, and giving clear instructions are good ways to teach your child good behavior. Time outs are a great alternative to spanking; you can tell your child “No (hitting, kicking, biting, etc). Time out,” to start. Time outs are a learned behavior; so when your child is young, hold them at arm’s length in the time out to help them learn to stay there. Once they are older and they try to leave time out, reset the timer and tell them that they need to start over. We recommend 1 minute per year old. When you feel your emotions getting out of hand, tell your child what you are feeling, and use the time out to give yourself time to calm down. After the time out is done, tell your child what behavior you didn’t like, and how they should behave next time.

To find more information, check out:

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015). Where We Stand: Spanking. Healthychildren.org. Retrieved from Where We Stand: Spanking

Sege, B. (2014). Disciplining Your Child: Is Spanking Ever Okay? Radio MD: Healthy Children. Retrieved from Disciplining Your Child: Is Spanking Ever Okay?

This and other exclusive tips from the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics are shared via Bloomz, the app connecting parents and educators everywhere. Want to get them on your phone? Invite your child’s teacher, coach or care provider to sign up for a free Bloomz account.

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