Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Naughty Step

All children test boundaries. It is their way of learning right from wrong, what is acceptable and what isn't, and how far they can go. There comes a point in time where a simple "no" just won't work and there has to be some consequences for their actions. It is then that you can introduce time-out and the naughty step.
M has a new little kitten and loves to play with him. However, she isn't always gentle with the little kitten. She has to learn that there is a difference between throwing a doll on the floor and throwing a kitten on the floor. She also has to learn to play very gentle with him because he is small. This is an issue of safety that her parents and I have to be very firm on and that is why we use the naughty step.

M is 2 and so she has to sit on the step for 2 minutes. We sit her down and explain why she is there and what we expect of her. Then the 2 minutes start. After the time is up we explain why she was there and ask for an apology and a hug and then go back to playing. The one thing that is important to remember is to get down on their level and have them look at you when you are talking.
This is a lovely discipline technique and I'm sure most parents use it. But here is something I've never heard of before. M loves sitting on the naughty step. She might do something a little naughty like throw a toy (I might usually just ask her to pick it up and tell her that we don't throw toys) and then she says "Go to naught step?" This is frustrating because it doesn't seem like she minds going on the naught step. Is it really working if she is the one putting herself in time-out?
So I went to my hero and role model... Supernanny! Here is what she said:
This is a tricky, but surprisingly common dilemma. Your child is probably testing boundaries, to see how far he can push you.
The key is to remain firm. If he wants to sit on the Naughty Step, let him! But when he’s put on there as a reprimand, make sure he doesn’t get any attention for the designated time period. If he moves away, put him back and re-start the timer. He may like it the first time, but he won’t enjoy being ignored by Mum and Dad for the tenth or twentieth time!
You should also ensure the Naughty Step is located in a quiet place, away from the television, family distractions and toys. If one spot isn’t working, choose a different spot in the house. Sitting in the most boring corner of the house is likely to take away their enjoyment very rapidly! 
Hurrah! We're not doing it wrong after all. We'll just have to keep it up and remain consistent. What are your experiences with time-out?

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