Time Out or Thinking Time?

Many parents and educators believe that Time Out is an excellent way to reprimand children who have somehow disappointed them with their actions. Time Out can be a tricky idea. How so? First and foremost, Time Out should only be given in increments of one minute per year of age. For example, if you have a three year old, that child should only spend three minutes in Time Out. I am sure many of you know a child who has been placed in Time Out and "forgotten" about until maybe five to ten minutes later.
What purpose does Time Out serve? Some may argue it its a form of redirecting the child and discouraging the behavior. As a preschool teacher of 15 years, I have proof that this is not true in many cases, which brings me to my opinion regarding Time Out. I believe that Thinking Time serves a much better purpose. How so? Children need time to reflect upon their actions and how their actions may have affected another child. By giving children Thinking Time and asking these open ended questions such as: "How do you think that made your friend feel when you...?" or "Is that what we use our hands for?" Always remember that every moment is a teachable moment. Would you rather have your child or student sit alone for 2-5 minutes watching the other children play, or use two minutes to teach the child an invaluable lesson about respecting others and making wise decisions?
For me, there is no doubt that that Thinking Time wins! How about you?