The Naughty Step


Staying calm and in control whilst your child learns her boundries is key, and it helps to be consistent in the way you discipline her. The Naughty Step is used on the show when a child's behaviour is unreasonable and something needs to be done…

Using the Naughty Step

She’s done it again – that’s the fourth time this morning! If you’re exasperated by your child’s behaviour, set out some clear house rules and try putting them into force using the Naughty Step Technique. This is one way of giving her time out, giving everyone a chance to calm down and allowing your child a moment to think over what was wrong with what she did.

Keep the Naughty Mat with you when you’re out and about.

grumpy childHow it works:

  • When your child misbehaves or breaks one of the House Rules explain what she’s done wrong, tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable, and warn her that if she behaves in the same way again, she’ll be put on the Naughty Step. Make sure your voice remains calm, not angry, and use a low, authoritative tone. 
  •  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 or use the Involvement Technique to diffuse the situation. 
  •  If she misbehaves again, immediately put her on the Naughty Step. Explain clearly why she is there and how long she must stay there (one minute per year of her age). 
  • If she comes off the Naughty Step, put her back on using gentle but firm movements and keep putting her back onto the step until she realises that you’re committed to keeping her there for the agreed set time. 
  • Once your child has completed the agreed set time on the Naughty Step, 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!

Time Out for older children

Older children will outgrow the Naughty Step, 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.

If behaviour is really out of control, if the Naughty Step has become more of an attention-seeking ploy, or if older children do something they really shouldn’t have done, try the One-Strike-and-You’re-Out Technique or think about some kind of toy confiscation punishment. Once disciplined, however, it is especially important to find out why your child behaved in a way which was out of character, as understanding their actions will help you to prevent it occurring again. For older children, a Video Diary might be useful in opening these lines of communication.

Don't forget the reward!

Troubleshooting behavioural issues using the Naughty Step works best when you also make a fuss of what your child does right. Parent positively, and use a Reward Chart to reinforce spontaneous and continual good behaviour in your child.

Buy the Naughty Step!

You can now purchase the original Supernanny Naughty Step from some branches of Woolworths and Tesco. The Supernanny Naughty Mat is coming soon, so watch this space!

Published by Supernanny Website on 25/06/2014

Related links

  • Make the Naughty Step Work for You: Thousands of families use the Naughty Step technique with their children. The Supernanny Team and answers some questions on the technique raised by parents in our forum.
  • Supernanny Naughty Step - Tried and Tested: We asked four families to try the new Supernanny Naughty Step. Here's what they thought...
  • TV Clip - Naughty Step: Billy was so badly behaved, his parents were sceptical that this discipline technique would work at all. But, within no time, Billy learns to sit on the step for the full two minutes.
  • TV Clip - Naughty Step in the Jeans family: The Jeans children are out of control, until Supernanny’s naughty step technique helps their parents rein them in…
  • One Strike and You're Out: As your children get older, how do you teach them what’s acceptable and what’s not? As used on Supernanny, ‘One-Strike-And-You’re-Out’ is a useful technique’ to discipline older children when they push thing too far...
  • The Naughty Mat: If you're out and about, or if your child is just too young to sit in a chair, the naughty mat might be just the thing to maintain a consistent approach to discipline...
  • House Rules: In the Supernanny show, families use house rules to set out what behaviour is acceptable in their household, and what behaviour is not…
  • The Reward Chart: Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for good behaviour, and the Reward Chart is a useful way to reinforce good behaviour on the spot.
  • Superstars Reward Charts: Saying ‘Well done’ to your child is the very best way to promote good behaviour. Download for free one of Supernanny’s ready-made Reward Charts.
  • The Roaming Technique: Find out how to use the Roaming Technique to help stop your toddler wandering off.
  • The Involvement Technique: Getting your children involved with chores and shopping trips can make all the difference to how much they (and you!) enjoy them.
  • Calming your kids: how do you tame a wild child? Parents frustrated wih bad behaviour may find these tips useful.
  • Boy vs Girl - discipline differences: Whether you favour a nature or nurture philosophy when it comes to raising your kids, there’s little doubt that boys and girls are different – and you can use those differences to your advantage when it comes to bad behaviour.
  • Forum: Share your naughty step trials and tribulations with other parents on the discussion forum.

Find out more

  • The Naughty Step is now available to buy from Toys R Us and Woolworths. It's easy to use and can be moved around the house - so you can keep an eye on your child whilst they're in time out.

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