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1-2-3 Magic Information

1-2-3 Magic Outline

  1.  Say, "That's 1" (show the number one sign with your fingers) & PAUSE 5-10 seconds.
  2.  Say, "That's 2" (show the number two sign with your fingers) and PAUSE 5-10 seconds. This is a warning for consequence if behavior does not change.
  3. Say, "That's 3" (tell child to take a break, break starts when child is calm). Be consistent and follow through with the        timeout/consequence. For serious misbehavior, use the Major/Minor.
  4. Consequence you have pre-arranged with your child/student.
  5. When the child comes out of time out, DO NOT continue to talk about the time out or what lead to the time out.
  6. Key concepts to 1-2-3 Magic success
    1. Be gentle
    2. Be consistent
    3. Be decisive and calm

Major rule to 1-2-3 Success

No talking and no emotion. When child comes back from timeout there is to be NO lectures, NO apologizing, and NO discussions.  You (the parent/guardian/caregiver) MUST REMAIN QUIET!


1-2-3 Magic: 3 Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

By Thomas W. Phelan, PhD


Focusing on behavior that is expected and focusing on the positive.