I have never really done the traditional time out. I never put a limit on how long it would last. Instead, when I sent my kids to time out I would tell them they could come out of their rooms when they had a better attitude or were ready to be behave appropriately.
I left it up to them. They are the ones that know when they have calmed down or had an attitude change.
I always loved hearing Jason's little voice yelling from his room... "Mooom. I'm ready to be good now."
This has worked well for us. There have been very few times where I had to send either of the kids back for round two of settling down. That one time in their rooms was almost always enough... because they really did change their attitudes while taking their time out.
Yesterday I was out for a while and when I got home the house was quiet. Mike was in the kitchen cooking (he's a total stud like that!) and the kids were not seen or heard. I asked where they were and was told that they had not been getting along and were spending some time in their rooms. Jason had been gifted a new toy from a friend and Liza desperately wanted to try it out but Jason was having none of that. It was his and that was that. And that was what led to some fighting.
So they were separated and left to have an attitude adjustment.
When I finally headed upstairs I heard them giggling. When I peaked in Jason's room Liza was there all "shhh! Don't tell dad! We weren't getting along and sharing so we had to go to our rooms but we are working on a surprise for him! We are sharing now and playing nice and we are going to make him something!"
I love watching Liza and Jason grow as people. I love that they have learned to work things out... without me or Mike interfering or forcing it. I love that they are learning life skills and how to get along.
And I love that they were making a surprise for their daddy by sharing the very thing they had been fighting over so that they could make him a piece of art.
I am proud of Liza and Jason.