I initiated the “naughty chair” when my twins were around 3 years old. I was looking for an effective and yet gentle method in which to allow them a place where they could calm down from occasional outbursts, unacceptable behavior or inappropriate actions. These attitudes are typical of three-year olds as they are testing the boundaries.
So the three of us went to our local craft store and bought an unfinished wooden child’s chair, we painted it, stenciled wording on it and did some small embellishments. The three of us did this together, all the while I explained what the purpose of the chair would be and that we were making it beautiful because I wanted them to feel it was a safe and soothing place.
I then explained to them the rules; that when Mommy felt they were acting inappropriately I would firstly explain to them their improper actions or behavior, they would be given two chances, if they did not correct their behavior they would then have to sit quietly on the naughty chair for three minutes [the time I increased by one minute each year of age] to think about their actions.
At first they thought it was all fun and games and would try to get on the “cute” chair but very quickly when I told them that they had to be quiet so that they could think about their behavior, it stopped being a game. I further explained that when the time was up I expected them to come to their own decision that their behavior or actions were indeed unacceptable and that the person, be it mommy, daddy or their siblings required an apology for this. If they didn’t think an apology was necessary they had to have an acceptable explanation or would have to sit on the naughty chair until they were prepared to apologize.
This method worked miracles in our house, shortly after initiating the naughty chair I didn’t have to give two warnings I only had to say “if you keep that behavior up you will be sitting on the naughty chair”. Very quickly they would correct what they were doing. It was extremely effective in our household and to this day my son and daughter, willingly apologize if they have hurt someone’s feeling, behave improperly or act unacceptably.
I’m not saying my two are angels because goodness knows I’m working on my third head of hair, but they are growing into well-behaved, well-adjusted, warm and caring teenagers … early stages yet some would say!