November 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 11
Cool Company: TimeOut Tot Helps Parents Raise Better Kids
New Guide Helps Caregivers Promote Good Behavior
TEACHING RIGHT FROM WRONG
Behavioral techniques she learned to teach her oldest child, who is mildly mentally retarded, were adapted for her developmentally “typical” subsequent two children. Ann’s goal was to achieve consistent discipline and provide clear examples of right and wrong behaviors.
She turned her own ideas into TimeOut Tot, a line of teaching toys and parenting resources featuring "Tot, The Behavior Coach,” an animated squirrel who helps children learn from their mistakes.
In the category of character development toys and aids for preschoolers, TimeOut Tot stands alone. There are others, such as Big Idea’s Veggie Tales (which promotes biblical values and may not reach the secular market) and the imaginary world of Winnie the Pooh. Sesame Street features real children, but it’s the puppets who experience the undesirable behaviors and learn the lessons.
TimeOut Tot, however, shows real children in real-life situations displaying first an undesirable behavior, such as whining, and then choosing to behave appropriately. This method helps children see right versus wrong.
IT’S FOR PARENTS, TOO
But TimeOut Tot products are not just learning toys for children; they are also resources for parents. The DVD, for example, features six lessons for children with six parallel lessons for parents on how to deal with misbehavior and turn it into a learning opportunity for their child — helping parents better understand their children’s behaviors and how to respond appropriately.
And the newest TimeOut Tot product is a guide book to teach parents how to use timeout appropriately.
“Parents need to begin thinking of timeout as a teaching moment,” Ann explained. “First, it is a time for the child to settle himself, be removed from activity so he can stop and think and get a grip on himself.”
Then, the parent can help the child see what he did wrong, and how to behave better next time, without misusing, abusing or overusing the technique of timeout.
In today’s world, children often have many caregivers in their lives at any given time — moms, dads, grandparents, daycare providers, preschool teachers and nannies. Finding consistency from one environment to the next can be difficult, but it’s important.
“Inconsistency causes confusion and the child doesn’t know what to think,” Ann said. “Social rules have to be taught like letters and numbers.”
Thus, TimeOut Tot is a program that can be utilized by all caregivers in a child’s life to achieve necessary consistency and the resulting better behavior.
USING THE WEB TO GET AHEAD
“It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to come up with an original idea, like TimeOut Tot, but it’s rough to tread the first path to the marketplace,” Ann said. TimeOut Tot spent “several years in the red before seeing black.”
Her company’s exposure through TDmonthly Magazine has helped get her products into the right hands, she said.
“Those who have discovered TimeOut Tot want it immediately,” Ann explained. “Our link with TDmonthly has been a wonderful way to get our products in stores and within our customers’ reach.”
Several of Ann’s products are featured below:
Written by Ann Brazil, creator of TimeOut Tot’s teaching toys, this 5.5” x 7.7”, 125-page soft-bound book is a step-by-step guide and parent resource. It shows parents not only how to use the discipline technique of timeout, but when to use it. Timeout is more effective for impulsive misbehaviors but isn’t right for every misbehavior.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 15373 (added 9/25/2007)
Sure to be a hit with parents and children alike is Tot's Clean Up Cube Game. It makes putting away toys FUN - and educational. Sturdy 5" x 5" cards (in English and Spanish) slip in and out of clear pockets on the sides of the cube.Dozens of different card sets provide endless FUN - and interactive learning! The starter set teaches number skills, and includes one inflatible (8" x 8") cube, guidebook and four sets of cards: numerals, domino dots, English and Spanish number words. The other card sets are in English and Spanish too. These are:alphabet(4 sets), colors(4), shapes(3), sight words(2), adjectives(2), opposites(2), synonyms(2), prepositions(2), punctuation(1) and MORE! “The clean up cube is perfect for spring cleaning,” TimeOut Tot Founder Ann Brazil told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 2006.Launch date: July 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10433 (added 12/5/2006)
This 24”-square mat has a colorful picture of Tot, the loveable squirrel, in the center and a border of easy-to-read numbers and letters. Children can count down their timeout themselves, learning letters and numbers as they learn to manage tempers. A clear pocket stores ''Match the Mat'' cards that can be used for games after timeout is over. “A lot of parents and teachers use [the TotSpot] for teaching social skills and self-control. Timeout is not a punishment for children. It’s a time to control thoughts and learn what they did wrong,” Ann Brazil, creator of TimeOut Tot, told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10432 (added 12/5/2006)
These bright activity and coloring books let a child have fun while learning number, letter and writing skills. They also reinforce the behavioral skills taught in the award-winning TimeOut Tot DVD and lessons. The 36 pages keep children engaged for hours of educational fun. Launch date: April 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10431 (added 12/5/2006)
These apology note cards include two blank cards and 12 postcards that young children can use to make an apology. The kit helps children learn about apologizing, writing and sending cards through the mail. Pre-printed cards can be colored and the letters “sorry” can be traced by the child. The child gets to choose the cards that best reflect the mistake they made and then signs and addresses the postcard himself. Blank postcards can be used to create a more personalized apology letter or card. Launch Date: April 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10430 (added 12/5/2006)
A "good" behavior chart that fits in your pocket or purse so that you can take it with you ? and catch your child being good anywhere, anytime in those "hard-to-sit-still" places like restaurants. Tot's Tally can go back and forth from preschool (or daycare) to home too, so that you can hear about (and applaud) all of the GOOD things that happened in your absence. Comes with two coloring charts and 36 stickers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9522 (added 9/27/2006)
"TimeOut Tot" is a lovable squirrel (made by a Jim Henson puppet maker) who rescues boys and girls from timeout and teaches them right from wrong, uniquely using real-life examples of other kids mistakes. When kids see how ugly tantrums are and hear how annoying whining is, for example, the "right choice" becomes an easy one. Stop tantrums, whining, biting, cutting in line, grabbing, pushing and more with the help of TimeOut Tot! Includes the TimeOut Tot DVD, TimeOut Tot PlushPuppet and Acorn Treat, Tot's Tunes CD and Tot's Tally. “The acorn is like the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and [the] Easter bunny all tied into one. [It] can be set up so that children follow instructions to find the acorn and treats as part of a hunt,” TimeOut Tot founder Ann Brazil told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9521 (added 9/27/2006)
Tot likes to catch kids doing the ?right? thing and when he does, Tot rewards them with an Acorn Treat filled with ?goodies? ? coins, candies or a sticker ? AND a note (written by you, of course!) praising that behavior.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9520 (added 9/27/2006)
Tot PlushPuppet is the perfect pal to comfort children when they have made a mistake. This is because Tot is not only soft and cuddly, but he is also a nonjudgmental friend who understands that we all make mistakes — and that's OK, as long as we learn from them. Tot sees everything (just like Santa) because he lives in the big tree down the road from children. When Tot sees them doing the right thing, Tot rewards them with his Acorn Treat. He comes with a plush acorn that has a zippered pouch that can be filled with small rewards to be handed out to good children.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7777 (added 5/4/2006)
Tot's Tunes is a CD collection of songs from the award-wining TimeOut Tot DVD, with musical role-play games using their social skills. Tot's Acorn Treat is passed like a "hot potato," and when the music stops the person holding the acorn role-plays the "appropriate behavior" for a given situation. Learning "the rules" has never been more FUN!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7776 (added 5/4/2006)
Winner of seven nationally acclaimed awards including the Parents’ Choice Award, the TimeOut Tot DVD helps parents teach their young children (3-7) good behavior. It offers “how to” lessons for parents and “ready made” lessons for their children taught by the lovable squirrel named TimeOut Tot who teaches the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior using music, stories and real-life examples. Sometimes it takes a third party to teach the behavior lesson. Tot is a non-threatening friend kids listen to at a time when they shut their ears to adults. "No other product shows kids in bad behavior like this, and shows them how ugly tantrums and this sort of behavior can be,” Creator Ann Brazil told TDmonthly. “TimeOut Tot lets kids learn from other people’s mistakes.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7336 (added 3/28/2006)
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Writer's Bio: Susan Ledford is the writer, editor and publisher of the "Homeschool Resources Directory for S.C." She has been evaluating toys and games for TDmonthly's Roundtable reviews since 2005. She also is a homeschool veteran of seven years. Read more articles by this author
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