The Naughty Step

Disciplining a young child can be a seriously wearing task, testing even the most patient parent. When the terrible twos hit and tantrums become increasingly frequent, it may be time to start looking into discipline techniques. One technique that has really grown in popularity in recent years, partly thanks to TV “supernanny” Jo Frost, is the “naughty step.” This technique aims to teach correct behaviour to a young child while allowing them (and the frustrated parent) the opportunity to calm down. If these steps are applied correctly and consistently, it can have a huge impact on a naughty toddler.


This technique should only be used for children between the ages of 2 and 6.


1)   Give a warning. Tell your child clearly and calmly what it is that they are doing wrong, and warn them that they will have to go to the naughty step if the behaviour continues.

2)   If they don’t stop, silently carry them to the designated step on the staircase, place them down, and explain clearly the reason that they’ve been put there.

3)   Set the timer for a minute for each year of the child’s life, then walk away.

4)   When the timer runs out, go back and discuss again the reason for the punishment. Ask for an apology.

5)   Hopefully, your child will then apologise, and hugs and kisses should be given to make up and show the child that they have been forgiven, and are still loved.

Many parents struggle to get this discipline technique down because their child puts up a tough resistance to being sat down on the naughty step. Try and be as patient as you can, and carry your child calmly and quietly back to the step each time they try and run away. If you persist, in time they should learn that the bad behaviour won’t be tolerated, and that they will have to sit out their time on the step. Hopefully, you’ll soon have a calmer and more co-operative toddler!

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