Which Crazy Person Thought Time Ins Were a Good Idea?

When I first read about “Time Ins” I thought to myself, “the person who came up with this obviously never had a toddler. They’re probably married without kids, sitting at home drinking wine and watching Netflix in the middle of the afternoon, coming up with this crappy advice for parents to follow.”


I felt this way because at the time my 3 year old son Cohen was getting the best of me. He was pushing the limits and my buttons every waking minute of every day. I was done. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and any other “ally” you can be. One day I walked over to my moms house after my husband got home from work, sat down at her kitchen table and said, “I don’t even like him right now. I love him, but I sure don’t like him.” Ya, it was bad.

So when my counsellor sent me an article about Time Ins, I was ticked. And then I was curious. And then I realized I had no other working plan. My plan was: react, get angry, wait all day for bedtime, drink wine, repeat. But seriously, I was desperate.

Enter, Time Ins.

At first I started with a simple change. Whenever my son starting misbehaving (specifically beating on his little sister) instead of threatening to take something away, put him in time out, etc. I asked him, “do you need a hug?” My husband and I had recently noticed how much Cohen loves to cuddle and so we thought, why not try and fill that need in a positive way?

All misbehaviour is birthed from unmet needs. A need for attention, for affection, for affirmation, etc. So instead of thinking, he’s doing this out of spite, or to make me mad, I started to see that he was really saying, “I need you”. So we I asked if he needed a hug.

Believe it or not, it worked! The question totally caught him off guard, stopped the misbehaviour and provided a chance for he and I to connect. And slowly, very slowly, things have been getting better. They’re not perfect. We have a long way to go. I still get frustrated and yell and on really bad days, slam the door, but slowly I’m learning the power of kindness.

After all, it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, not his distance, or wrath or anger.

Here’s the article my counsellor sent me if your interested in learning more about this crazy idea of Time In.


What works for you when it come to dealing with misbehaviour? Feel free to share your tips and resources in the comments! And remember, there’s always grace. We are never too far gone to make adjustments and do better next time. xo

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