Anti-timeout mom shares her alternative to the controversial punishment: 'I made a choice'

Alex Lasker

A woman is going viral on TikTok after sharing her brilliant alternative to a classic childhood punishment.

The mom, who posts under the username maartemami, revealed her unique anti-timeout approach to discipline, called a “calming corner,” in a TikTok video that has since racked up over 1.4 million views.

“I made a choice to do away with timeouts because there are such big emotions that lead up to timeouts and it didn’t feel effective to me to leave my son to sit alone with these big, scary emotions,” she explained.

Instead, maartemami said she reframed her approach to having her five-year-old son take “breaks” in what she has designated as the “calming corner,” an area she set up on the side of her sofa, where her son can learn “to manage emotions and feelings first in a healthy way, and then deal with consequences after.”

“This gives him a super comfy, safe space as an outlet to reflect, center his mind, process his thoughts and regulate his emotions,” she explained. “The calming corner allows him to do this because he can meditate, do breathing exercises or just sit and relax and calm himself via the tools that appeal to his five senses.”

Maartemami walked users through her son’s “calming corner,” which is filled with all sorts of objects that can engage his sense of touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound, such as squishy toys, a plasma bulb, essential oils, gum and a cordless sound machine.

“Instead of timeout being the consequence, consequences became compromised tech time, extra chores, or restricting special toys,” the mother explained in her video.

TikTok users seemed to vastly support maartemami‘s method, with some even expressing that they hope to employ the “calming corner” technique when they raise families of their own.

“The next generations are gonna be so evolved, this is amazing!” wrote one user. “I wanna do this when/if I have kids.”

“I’ve never understood why we punish kids for … having emotions,” shared another.

“Wow this is amazing,” said a third. “I was 17 when someone taught me how to identify my emotions and sort out the root of it to deal with it.”

In a follow-up post, maartemami did a more in-depth walkthrough of her son’s “calming corner,” detailing the specific products she stocks it with, as well as how to make the concept appropriate for children of all ages.

The effectiveness of timeouts has long been subject to debate by parents and healthcare professionals alike. Although some studies suggest that isolating children as punishment for bad behavior can negatively impact their mental health, other, more recent studies seem to show no correlation between timeouts and stunted development.

A September 2019 study that examined nearly 1,400 families found that children who were disciplined through timeouts were not at increased risk for anxiety, depression, aggression, rule-breaking behaviors or self-control problems, compared to kids whose parents or guardians avoided timeouts, Time previously reported.

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