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How to use the naughty step

What is the Naughty Step?

The naughty step is a method used by many behavioural experts to discipline children. It has been championed by Super Nanny Jo Frost and is common practice in many households. So much so, it is often joked that adults will be sent to the Naughty Step too!

The naughty steps works for discipline, it is a place where the parents will sit the child on when they are mis behaving. If the child behaves in a way that is unacceptable, a warning is issued first, for example "Please do not do that, it is not good behaviour and you are not to do it again" When the warning is given, eye contact should be made directly with the child. You should also crouch down to their level and lower the tone of your voice. This change in delivery then tells the child this is not a game.

If the child persists and repeats the bad behaviour, they are to be sat on the naughty step. The child is then told their behaviour was wrong, you do not shout / hit etc, and they are to sit on the naughty step until the parent comes and gets them. The child is to spend 1 minute on the step for each year of age. For example, a 5 year old will spend 5 minutes on the step.

If the child has a tantrum on the step, or persistently leaves, they are placed back on the step and the time starts again. This can result in a 5 minute "time out" actually taking half an hour or longer to complete. By being persistent, your children will get the message and soon learn it is better to sit quietly for 5 minutes and then go back to playing. Ultimately, this then has the positive effect of good behaviour.

The Naughty Step should not be used in conjunction with other disciplines at the same time, don't put them on the naughty step and take away a toy. Stick to one punishment per incident and be persistent.

After their time is up, your child needs to apologise to you for their behaviour, demonstrating an understanding of what they did and why it was wrong. Once the child has apologised, the punishment is over, let them carrying on playing and demonstrate their good behaviour - don't go on about the issue, it has been dealt with and now it is time to move on.

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