Time for Time Outs on the Naughty Step

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time outs on the naughty stepOur diva has officially entered the terrible twos. Don’t get me wrong. She’s sweet and funny and adorable and I love her with every being in my body. But man oh man can she push my buttons!

She’s testing boundaries and we sometimes get into a battle of wills. In an attempt to squash this behavior, we started time outs. At first they were a way for us to get her to calm down when she would throw a tantrum, but now we use them as a form of discipline when she does something that she knows is wrong.

We attempt (emphasis on attempt) to follow Super Nanny’s rules for time outs on the naughty step, which are as follows. (You can read more about the “naughty step” here.)

  • Give the child a warning
  • Put them in a set time out spot for 1 minute for each year of age
  • If they get up, put them back without speaking to them
  • Once time is up, tell them again why they are in time out
  • Give them a hug and kiss
  • Move on

However, our times outs end up going a little something like this.

Me: If you bang on the computer one more time you’re going into time out

Diva: *giggles*

Me: Be nice.

Diva: *smack*

Me: Ok. You’re going to time out.

Diva: No way! No way!

Me: You can run, but you can’t hide!

Diva: waaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! No way! *kicking and screaming ensues*

Me: You’re in time out for banging on the computer. Now sit there for 2 minutes.

Diva: I can’t do it! I don’t like my day! I. Can’t. Do. It!!! I don’t like my daaay!

Me: *blankly staring at clock willing my ears to stop bleeding*

Diva: I don’t like my day! I don’t like my day!

Me: Ok. Time’s up. You were in time out because you banged on the computer. Now say sorry.

Diva: *sniff* Sor *sniff* ry, momma

Me: Ok. Go play.

Ten minutes later…

Me: If you bang on the computer one more time you’re going into time out

Clearly, she doesn’t always learn her lesson the first time, yet. But she knows what time out means and more often than not, she will stop doing whatever it is once she gets that first threat warning. She’s learning. But she is stubborn and willful. I’m mostly just praying my neighbors don’t call the police thinking I’m torturing the kid based on her very dramatic screams. I mean, c’mon! It’s 2 minutes. From her shrieks, you’d think I was making her sit on the step for an hour.

God love those of you who have been there, done that. And for those of you yet to enter this phase, GOOD LUCK! You’re gonna need it!

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  1. I love reading your play by plays! 🙂 We have not quite entered this phase. I am enjoying every moment of my sweet baby because I know she’s close to this!

  2. It’s good to know I’m not alone! I’m working on figuring out what approach we will take to handle my son’s “independent streak.”

  3. Sounds so similar to my house. Mine is with a 3 year old but it is a handful.

  4. oh wow; total deju-vue here! For us it’s not the terrible twos. That stage was EASY compared to the monstrous threes! All 3 of my kids were super sweet until they reached 3! Then they became monsters. lol.

    I praise the day that I discovered the Super Nanny time out stool. It was a HUGE help for my boys. Now I’m dealing with a 3 yr old daughter with a speech/comprehension delay and i find the time out stool isn’t working because she isn’t understanding what I’m telling her. /sigh. I know the technique is a miracle worker..as it worked for both of my boys; but this daughter of mine is definitely a challenge. So I have to put this technique on hold until she can understand what I’m saying, and then she will discover the Super Nanny technique.

  5. Sounds OH SO FAMILIAR! They try our last nerve, don’t they?

  6. Oh no! Sounds like she put you through a good one! Jagger is my first of 4 (now 5) to put us through the “terrible twos”…. with the other kids is was three, four, or five.. not 2. He is quite the handful and time outs are a horrific portion of our day. He screams, kicks, runs away, you name it- he does it!

    I saw a post yesterday about a calming glitter bottle or “Hush” bottle. I will be making one very soon to give it a try! Here’s the link: http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/2012/06/perfect-hush-bottles.html

  7. Oh my word, that sounds just like my son, he’s a tough cookie. Thanks for being honest and giving us the play by play with her, it makes us all feel like normal parents 🙂

  8. Those two minutes seem endless!! BUT it does work and they do hate it.

  9. Have you tried proactively dealing with issues that are repeat offenses? I have a two year old and I try to head certain things off at the pass, if I know that they’re going to be a problem.

  10. *SIGH* timeouts dont work for us. 99% of the time, its fun. He talks to himself, pretends his hand is an airplane, or just happily hums to himself swinging his legs.
    “I dont like my day” is adorable, btw!

  11. I’m so happy to see someone else that uses time outs! I swear people are becoming so PC these days….saying time out is going to scar your child somehow. Learning consequences is such a huge part of growing up, and even though it takes a LOT of repetition, it does work! Hang in there!

  12. Ufff…I remember those days! My daughter will be turning 10 in January but when she went through that stage – She had only many a meltdown until she learned her lesson 😉 It can seem as if it takes them forever to learn from their little mistakes but they do learn and get better. Good Luck!

  13. I shouldn’t laugh but your post brought back memories of my children. I love reading your posts! It gets better hang in there.

  14. I love they way you tell that story! It is so hard to follow through. We dont’ do time outs much at all with our just turned two year old, but I end up taking away what ever she is using the wrong way. Lately it is the markers. Maggie – if you write on anything else I will have to take the markers away. Turn away from her. She climbs up onto her desk to draw on the light switch. Take markers away. She screams..and screams. Sometimes it goes all day – I want my markers, I want my markers. Such a little stinker. Two is such a wonderfully fun age, but yes, it definitely pushes buttons!

  15. dont you just love how they like to push our buttons and test us to see how we will react.

  16. I laughed my way through this post! I barely made it through the terrible two’s, (way too many times) but somehow I survived. Time out never worked for me and it doesn’t work with my Grandkids either. But you sound like you just may win, since your little Diva is getting it. Hang in there Mama 🙂

  17. I have a two year old too. He knows what a time out is too. Sometimes he knows them a lot!

  18. Sounds exactly like my son. I have to say time outs just don’t work. I have tried over and over but without fail, unsuccessful. I think in another few months though it will. He is only 19 months now.

  19. Great tips! Two minutes for a little one really seems like forever to them!

  20. Each of our boys has their very own time out corner…our oldest makes such a fuss and throws a temper tantrum that he is only allowed to get out of the corner once he is done crying and is willing to listen. Our youngest is very good with his time out time. He sits there all quietly until it is time to go. The some times get in trouble for the same thing just like your little girl did…but I guess this is part of growing up and testing the boundries.

  21. “I don’t like my day!!” I love that statement!!! Don’t we all need to sit on the naughty step and scream that once in a while????

  22. Momma on the Rocks Momma on the Rocks says:

    So glad I’m not alone. I might be bald before she turns 3!

  23. Oh man, I am so. so. terrified for this stage. My daughter already has tantrums and she’s only 13 months.

  24. I do almost the same thing. But if she doesn’t sit in her time out it starts over. And if she wont apologize after time is up I will put her back till she’s ready to apologize. seems to work really good. best of luck!

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