9 Ways To Be Productive During A Toddler’s Time-Out

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

Even the most angelic children have tantrums — it’s all part of the package. When toddlers turn 2, they start testing their — and your — limits.

And when they don’t get their way, you can expect anger and a lot of tears. Even something so minor, like not wanting to wear shoes, can turn into a full-on meltdown. Time-outs are a great way for toddlers to get a handle on their emotions. Eventually, you and your child can navigate your feelings together and move forward.

But as a loving parent, it can be a bit emotional hearing your child have a tantrum. Even when you get used to it, it’s still difficult to know that someone you love so much is going through a hard time.

That’s why it’s important to learn how to step away. Redirecting your energy is also a good way for you to calm down and take a few moments away from your toddler. Remember, when things get out of control, both of you need a break.

Even though it might last only five minutes, there are still plenty of ways you can spend that time that’ll help make you feel like you’re still in control. These productive coping methods will even make the next time-out a little easier.

Try a guided meditation


Meditation doesn’t have to take a long time, but it’s still tough to fit into your standard schedule. It’s been proven to help with stress management and anger — so if you’ve just had a disagreement with your willful toddler, it could be the best way to level out and feel like yourself again. There are plenty of great meditations available on YouTube — just search for “5-minute meditation” to get started.

Fold laundry

Fold laundry

It’s not glamorous, but it’s a good chore to do that you don’t have to think too hard about. Even if you just have time to throw a load of clothes into the washer, it’s good to shift your focus a little bit and remind yourself that this tantrum shouldn’t derail you from moving forward with your day.



When was the last time you had a productive stretch? According to Fitness Magazine, stretching helps take care of unwanted stress and also helps you sleep better. It’s also beneficial for your posture, which will boost your self-confidence. Use your toddler’s time-out as a good opportunity to focus on your health and well-being.

Drink a glass of water


It may seem silly, but there’s a good chance you’re not drinking enough water every day. So let the time-out after a tantrum serve as a good reminder to take a minute or two out of your day to enjoy a glass of water. Even being mildly dehydrated can negatively affect your mood and overall mental performance.

Create your own mantra


It’s important to create tricks that’ll help remind you that everything’s OK. If your toddler’s meltdown or bad behavior happened after you’ve had a tough day at work, or after a fight with your spouse, you may feel like you’re at the end of your rope. A chant of “Everything will be OK” or “This too shall pass” will remind you that this brief moment of stress is temporary.

Look at your photo memories

pouting kids

Chances are, you have at least five cute shots of your child not being a monster. These will remind you that even though you may be frustrated at the moment, the good moments will always outweigh the bad. This is also a good way to enter your child’s room with a smiling face. If you go back in still frustrated, it’ll be hard for both you and your toddler to move on from the moment.

Take a deep breath

Take a deep breath

Just one will do if you make it count. Focus on how the air feels in your nose, and breathe out with your mouth. It’s a great way to calm down. It’s also a great way to quickly get fresh oxygen to your blood. Practicing your breathing can be extremely beneficial.

Think of better ways to communicate with your child


When your child insists on doing something themselves but does it wrong for 15 minutes straight, it’s easy to lose your patience. Taking a few moments to yourself will help you rethink the situation. Put yourself in your child’s shoes — they’re just trying to learn. Use the time-out as a good break to think up some reassuring words and new teaching methods.

Take a short walk around the block


If there’s another adult home, this is the perfect way to clear your head — especially if it’s a nice day out. By changing up the scenery and focusing on nature, you can cool off before you reenter your toddler’s room to talk about why that time-out was deserved.