Like most concepts in this lifestyle, I was pleasantly surprised when we finally decided to give it a chance. That’s all it took. One chance. I remember the first time we used it, as a matter of fact. Chelsea had an attitude problem that day, I gave her a few minutes of corner time to calm down and chill out, and presto! Attitude gone. It was so simple and it took all of 5 minutes. All the bickering between us ceased and our conversations were MUCH more productive after that. It was great.
After using corner time for the first time, and experiencing how well it worked, we made it a part of what we do permanently.
Of all the punishments we use, however, corner time is probably the one we use the least frequently. We used corner time on a fairly regular basis before we had kids, but now that we have a couple of little ones running around, it’s not as easy to administer and therefore isn’t as common of a punishment in our household. Despite its infrequent use, the corner time punishment is an effective one for us when we use it.
Prior to having children, administering corner time was quick, easy and convenient. All I would have to say is something like, “I think a few minutes of corner time will give you a chance to think about how unhelpful that attitude is,” or something along those lines. My wife knew, after hearing something like that, that she had earned herself a cozy session of staring at the wall for a while.
Now with kiddos, it’s a little harder to do that. Although our kids are still young, I know our oldest (3 and a half years old) would wonder why his mom was standing in the corner if we did this punishment right in front of him. We don’t punish in front of our kids for what we hope to be obvious reasons, so we do the corner time punishment a little differently now.
At the time of writing this, we’re in a two-story house in which the main living area is on the main floor and our master bedroom is on the second floor. If Chels has done something to earn herself corner time, and the kids are in earshot of us, I let her know that I need to talk to her upstairs in our bedroom for a few minutes. That’s not unusual at all to our kids since we often do that to talk about various things anyway, without having to talk over the multiple “kid noises” that are constantly present (loud toys, the television, playful shouting, etc. — any parent of two children under the age of 4 knows what I’m talking about here).
Once we’re in our bedroom, I briefly lecture Chelsea about why she’s being punished, I let her know how many minutes her corner time punishment is, and after I do all that, I sit down on the foot of the bed. Every minute or so I’ll go halfway down the stairs to make sure the kids aren’t dumping milk all over the kitchen floor or coloring amazing pictures on the walls or something awesome like that (they never are), but for the most part I’m in our room with Chelsea for the duration of her corner time. I do that to ensure she stays focused. After her punishment is over, I get confirmation from her that she understands why she was punished, I give her a big hug, she apologizes, and we carry on about our day. Done deal.
There’s nothing too ground-breaking about the way we do corner time. It’s pretty straight-forward, if you ask me. I’ve been asked on occasion by fellow HoHs about how to administer this punishment, and my advice is to not over-think it. It’s a very simple punishment. The way I’ve described how I administer it works great for us, so if you’re having trouble with corner time, you may want to consider using my outline as a template for your own relationship.
I’ve also gathered that the biggest trouble HoHs seem to have when administering this punishment is what to say. You don’t need to be a jerk about it, nor do you have to treat your partner like a child. Something simple like, “I think (X) minutes of corner time will take care of that attitude problem”, or “A few minutes of corner time should calm things down,” or something along those lines would work fine. Be respectful about it and be perfectly clear. That’s my advice on what to say and how to say it when administering corner time. Keep it simple, calm and respectful.
Anyway, that’s how we do corner time and it works well for us. Corner time has been a part of our domestic discipline practices pretty much since the beginning. I’m glad I don’t have to do it often, but when I do, it accomplishes what it’s intended to accomplish, and that’s all we can ask for.