If you do not like “time out,” for whatever reason, you are right. You have other approaches you can choose, so you will be comfortable in your role as a parent. If “time out” feels OK for you, fits your personal temperament and your cultural context–that might be a good thing for you.
Parents who do not like “time out” explore the possibility of “time in”: They stop their child from whatever he/she was doing, tell them what’s wrong, and stay with him/her for the time of cooling down. For them, it is importent to stay connected with the child as the information (of what went wrong and what is expected) is being worked on.
Many discipline issues in very young children can be avoided by changing the environment: Often there are too many toys around, or inappropriate expectations for the child to “clean up” (does he/she really know what that means? Remember, in his/her eyes, toys on the floor ARE in the right place…) Parents may express expectations that the child will sit patiently and wait; this needs to be tempered to the child’s developmental age. Considering just these few things can help a lot with elliminating unnecessary “meltdowns.”
Every choice that we make in child rearing has long-term consequences, but we cannot foresee them all. We can do our best, knowing it might not be seen the same way in 20 or 30 years; we can be forgiving to ourselves and others; and go through life with hope and faith.