Naughty Step – should you hold a child down?

Naughty StepAs a few may have noticed, I have been blogging a lot recently. I have also been looking at the stats under the hood. This is when I noticed that someone had used the following search term to find my site:

holding child down on naughty step

Wow! Really? Having written an article on the naughty step, I felt I should answer the question. I will work on a presumption: if you are holding a child down, I guess they are not staying put on said step\ rug\stool?

So, you are wound up. Your child is wound up (another presumption based on the fact your child is being put on the naughty step). How is physically restraining them going to improve things? Your adrenaline kicks in (if it isn’t already on full alert) and things go from bad to worse. They get angry/scared and you just get plain angry.

The naughty step, in my work, is a useful tool in helping everyone to calm down, not to get more upset. It gives your child a chance to be removed from stimulus that was causing a problem, and space for the parent to separate and calm down as well. Then when everyone is calmer, then there is time for talking over whatever has happened. Or perhaps, whatever has happened is no longer the problem it seemed.

But what if they wont stay on the step?

Gently (yes, gently) place your screaming, squiggling child on mat. The idea is not to make it a fearful, scary place. Its not a thing to make so bad that it can be used as a threat. Creating good behaviour through threats is not a sustainable, stress free way for anyone (parent or child). When your child runs\wiggles away, place back on mat gently. Rinse, lather and repeat as required.

How isolating?
I used to place my daughter just outside of the main living area, but with the door open, so I could still hear her. If I closed the door she would freak out to an unreasonable degree, that did more harm than good.

Then what?
After only a short time, when both are calm, remove child and hug. Time to move on. Calmly and with love.

Raising a child doesn’t have to be a battle.


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