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An Alternative To The Naughty Step…

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

Introducing the quiet corner!


I’m not a big fan of the whole ‘you’re a naughty child’ thing but I do agree that there are times where our children need some help to do the right thing. The naughty step doesn’t help with this as it doesn’t actually relate to whatever the child has done wrong. Young children don’t do reflecting on their behaviour so some are going to sit on the step confused and upset (no good for all that self esteem we are trying to build) and for some children it’s going to become a game.


It’s different to a time out. She’s not sent there. She’s not made to go alone. I’m not counting a minute for every year of her life 🙄I don’t keep putting her back every time she gets off.

Children need connection. All behaviour is their way of communicating something. Yep, even when they hit their sibling on the head for the third time…

Having a quiet and calm space to go to helps children to identify their feelings, control their impulses, manage their stress and self regulate their behaviour all without making them feel bad about themselves. Yes they might need help initially but that time spent is much more valuable for everyone than repeatedly sitting them on a step.

Bonus point - you can take resources from the quiet den out and about with you so they can be used if and when needed!


🌨Rain Maker/Snow globe

💕Affirmation cards



🥰Blanket and cushions

📣Breathing bell* or chime

*This will depend on your child. Ask yourself if they’re likely to start ringing it like Big Ben? In which case a chime might work better. Simply ding the chime, sit and breathe until you can no longer hear the chime.

When I posted this on my Instagram account I got lots of comments asking how exactly to use the area. People were asking things like ‘but what do I do when they’ve thrown soil in their siblings eye? One child is sad, the other needs to calm down. I’m solo parenting and I don’t know what to do.’

First things first, the quiet den is always open. It’s not a punishment. It’s a calm space. It’s not solely a behaviour management tool. Practise it before these things happen. You could even encourage your children to set up the area with you. Think about where you put the space. Maybe a communal area for the whole family where anyone can use it/you can see them if you need to be with your other children.

It’s also an area a child can choose to go to. They know it’s there if someone’s behaviour is winding them up and they want to get away. Everyone needs to respect it as a mindful space and that will take time.

It’s an option - ‘You’re cross and you hit your brother. Do you need a break to calm down in your quiet den?’

So the soil, you can use the above or ‘your sister has thrown soil at you and you are feeling sad. I’m going to sit with your sister in the quiet den to help her calm down. Would you like to come with us or wait and have cuddles after?’ It’s obviously a tricky thing. You don’t want to be back and forth to the quiet den all day long so please don’t think of it as somewhere to go every time there is behaviour you don’t like. Use it if a child is overwhelmed and NEEDS it.

If you’ve got a situation where someone has hit the other with a toy car…take the car away from the hitting child. Explain what you’re doing and why. For want of a better phrase, the time fits the crime. Taking them off somewhere else doesn’t relate to the behaviour.

Going to add a quiet corner to your home or classroom? I’d love to see your photos so be sure to tag @everydayplayideas on Instagram!

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