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We've recently started our 2V2-year-old on time-outs, but my husband gives them for everything from hitting to refusing to pick up a toy! Shouldn't lie let some things slide?

ask the mom squad

Denene Milliter A mom of two, stepmom of one, and an author. She's got judgment-free advice for the trickiest hid behavior. "Kids rock, but moms rule," she says. Send her your questions at momsquad'^parenting.com.

What to say to get a balker strapped in:

"I'll racc you to the car!"

"Here's a wipe to clean the windows before we go"

"Can you push the garage-door remote for me?"

"How many doggies do you think we'll sec on the way?"

"Do you think you can sing your ABC's by the time I buckle you in?"

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Maybe your husband needs a turn in the corner you know, to calm him down a bit over this whole punishment thing. Your child is 2 as in "terrible twos"—and no amount of time-outs is going to make a human being who's been on this earth for only 30 months be perfectly behaved.

That's not to say thai time-outs can't work. The general rule is one minute of time-out for each year of age. But be judicious: Use lor serious offenses only, and only as a last resort; otherwise, your child's behavior won't Change. Sending your baby to the corner for absentmindedly dropping a teddy bear on the floor wi 11 get you only a few minutes of crying, followed by another absentminded drop, guaranteed,

A better option for small infractions? Rewarding good behavior is a start: Pick up the teddy bear, get a hug. Giving her three chances lo do what she's told is a good one, too. It gives her an opportunity to think about her actions and understand the consequences. Then there's the old "ignore it" tactic, the one where you let a 2-year-old be a 2-year-old. They drop stuff. And make a mess. And get a little loopy some times. That's normal, not punishable.

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