I have a 27mo (2 y, 3m) toddler who is all around pretty well behaved. We have a timeout area in our guest bedroom that we use for her when she has a tantrum. (It's a camping cot with nothing in it in a very boring room in the house). We have used it consistently and it seems to work pretty well.

However, we run into issues with her screaming in general. She talks loudly (which is understandable) and screams at the top of her lungs just because she feels like it. I understand this is normal toddler behaviour, and we do also go by the general guidelines of (1) encouraging her to use her words and her indoor voice and (2) not rewarding her with attention. She doesn't get attention from us if she screams, only if she talks. She gets a lot of attention from us when she is well behaved.

However. With covid-19 and both of us working from home in our lounge, we can only handle screaming to a certain point. She spends all her non-sleeping, non-timeout time within sight and hearing of us (which is great for her development), due to the need to look after her and work at the same time.

We do not know what to do with her at this point. We would like to remove her from our presence for some period of time during the day to get a break from the screaming, and have put her in timeout before after excessive screaming, but she doesn't seem to mind timeout (when she's not in tantrum-mode) and will happily just play there by herself.

We are discussing making a separate play area away from us that she can use to scream to her heart's content away from us. Which would be great for work, but I don't know if this is the ultimate goal ('you shouldn't scream, it's not approporiate' vs 'you can scream as long as we are not in hearing'), and balancing this with what is appropriate for a child of her age.

So should we be using the same timeout space for both tantrums and general screaming behaviour? Or would it be be better to leave her to scream and play loudly in her room if she's otherwise happy?

1 Answer 1


I think 'punishing' for use of a loud voice, which is just normal toddler behavior as you noted yourself, will be unproductive. If she's happy, content, and playing but just being loud in a fun/rambunctious way, I think letting her do that in another (well baby-proofed) area is appropriate. If you have a video baby monitor, or audio you can put on the lowest audible volume setting, that would be best so you can be aware of any problem that might arise as she's out of your sight.

As she gets older she can learn about the right 'indoor voice' to use, but being loud from time to time at her age is normal exploration, and I don't think you really need to teach her that it's inappropriate to make loud sounds.

  • 1
    Thanks. Timeout for loud behaviour isn't something that sits well with us either, it has happened once or twice as an 'emergency' measure, but a better strategy is much more desirable. Thanks for your input!
    – stan
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 16:03

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