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A Naughty Chair is a device used by some parents to administer a time out discipline to toddlers. It is considered to be a means for parents to avoid physically harming their toddlers, but still enforcing a behavioural change.
How it WorksEdit
Misbehaving toddlers are required to sit on the Naughty Chair whilst everything else in the household carries on around them, without their involvement. The Naughty Chair could be a chair, step, corner or anywhere, so long as there are no distractions and your child is old enough to sit in a chair.
- If your child misbehaves, explain what she’s done wrong, tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable, and warn her that if she misbehaves again, she’ll be put on the Naughty Chair. Make sure your voice remains calm, not angry, and use a low, authoritative tone.
- If you don't step in with the warning before too late, you end up teaching her that she can get away with it for a good while before there's a consequence.
- Is there a particular toy or something which is triggering the situation which you could calmly remove? Or is your child tired or hungry? See if you can help resolve her frustration and move her on to another activity if possible.
- If she misbehaves again, immediately put her on the Naughty Chair. Explain clearly why she is there and how long she must stay there (one minute per year of her age).
- Do not keep issuing warnings. One or two is OK, but if you keep going, she'll soon work out that you're only issuing empty threats and for that reason alone, you're not going to follow through.
- If she comes off the Naughty Chair, put her back on using gentle but firm movements and keep putting her back onto the chair until she realises that you’re committed to keeping her there for the agreed set time.
- It might be 100 times one day, 10 times the next, then two, but she will eventually stay put.
- It's a good idea to put the chair where you can easily see if she gets off.
- Once your child has completed the agreed set time on the Naughty Chair, crouch down so you’re on the same level, use a low and authoritative tone of voice, and explain why you put her there. Ask her to apologise, and when she does, praise her warmly with a kiss and a cuddle. Say ‘thank you’, go back to what you were doing and forget about the incident. If your child refuses to apologise, (or does something like shouts ‘sorry’ in a way which makes you think she probably doesn’t mean it,) continue this technique until she realises that you need a proper apology. But don’t forget the kiss and cuddle at the end!
- Younger children can find it hard to articulate clearly at times. If it sounds like sorry to you and they mean it, accept it.
The psychological principles involvedEdit
This procedure is built on sound scientific psychological principles:
Variations on the Naughty Chair for older children Edit
Older children will outgrow the Naughty Chair, so try to cultivate in them a sense of responsibility for their actions by creating a ‘reflection room’ or ‘chill-out zone’. They can be asked to go there when they’re angry to give them time and physical space to think things over.
Naughty Chairs can exist anywhere including places like a Grandparents home. Further, alternatives to a Naughty Chair can be a Naughty Room/Mat/Spot/Step/Square/Circle/Corner/Point/Beanbag/Bench. Ideally a child should still be visible from the Naughty Chair and the Naughty Chair should pose no benefits through its placement, such as line-of-sight to a television or access to toys.
Length of timeEdit
A good rule to follow when putting your child in the Naughty Chair is one minute for each year of age starting at age two. This means a two year old will sit for 2 minutes. Time should not start until the child is sitting and not screaming.
- Supernanny website - advice on how to use the Naughty Step, House Rules, Reward Chart and other techniques
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