How to Make Corner Time a Success

November 24, 2008

This post was published to How to Job Hunt at 12:24:14 PM 11/24/2008

How to Make Corner Time A Success



I am a single mom of 2 amazing boys, 5 and 7.  To say that they are a challenge would be understating it a little.  They are constantly testing me and their limits, which is good but trying.  I am not a fan of spanking; I think that spanking should be reserved for the more serious crimes.  I find that taking away privileges is much more effective and productive.  To make this productive I have to be consistent.  I cannot allow them to do something once without punishment and then punish them the next time and then not punish them the next.  They see this as a game in which it is a gamble whether or not they will get busted.  They also don’t take me seriously when I say no or tell them to do something.

An example of this would be my younger son getting into our food.  For weeks every time I turned around he was eating bread out of the bag, sneaking a bag of chips into his room, eating whole packages of bologna or wasting it by throwing it at the wall because he thought it was cool that they stick, and eating anything else he can get his hands on.  Please understand that I do not starve my children, they are very healthy and they eat three meals and two snacks a day.  At first I was just getting frustrated with him.  I would speak calmly one time to explain the reasons not to do this and put him in the corner the next.  For him there was no real reason not to go into the kitchen and eat what he wanted.  Thankfully I eventually had enough.  I decided that going back and forth was not going to work and it further confused him.

I made a decision to lay out a punishment for his behavior that he could understand and then I went to work implementing it. Every time he got into the food he would have to stand in the corner for 4 minutes, as 4 was his age.  I knew that I would have to follow through and be consistent, what I did not expect was the whole new fight that him standing in the corner presented.  He would face his body anywhere but toward the corner.  He would talk, play, or yell the whole time he was in there.  It was an exhausting fight that I felt was having no effect on the problem.  I had always had these problems when putting my children in the corner, but once again I saw that something needed to be done and not by my small children.

I started by picking a corner where the kitchen stove was in view, but an egg timer will work too.  Then I placed tape on the floor to form 2 Xs where there feet should go.  I explained the rules of the corner.  No talking, playing, sitting, or touching the walls.  Also they must face the corner and look at it while contemplating what they did wrong and that they won’t do it again.

The first time my son got put in the corner after the rules were laid out he did everything he was not supposed to and each time that I clearly instructed him to stand still and quiet facing the corner with his feet on the Xs and he did not obey I simply added another minute.  This time was difficult.  He managed to get the time up to 32 minutes and I once he realized that the only way out was to do his time according to my rules I made him stand there until the buzzer went off.  I of course fidgeted with the timer without him knowing, he was only four.  Since then both of my children have had to do extended corner time for misbehaving in the corner and anymore they take the corner time quietly and according to the rules. 

·         In order for a punishment to work a parent must be consistent.  This is not an option, you are wasting your time and energy and the time you have to teach your children if you only do what you say you are going to once in a while.

·         Use some type of markers on the floor to let your child know where their feet should be planted.

·         Let them see and hear the timer.

·         Add a minute every time they disobey a clear order.

·         Follow through!  This will not be effective if they spend ten minutes fighting you and one minute standing in the corner and then you let them out. 

      Remember that they need to understand that it is their choices that are causing the added time and their choice to avoid extra time in the future.  Also understand that if your 5 year old racks the minutes up to 45 for example, a good solid 15 minutes of standing in the corner the way that he/she should will be plenty, it will feel much longer to them and you don’t want the point to be lost.

I hope that this is helpful; I know that it took a lot of trial and error for me to learn it.  I will say though that it works.  Every child is different and their punishment should reflect that but the point is still the same.

My name is Amber Conley; I am a single mom of 2 young boys.  I work at home and I am able to enjoy life and my children.  If you would like to learn how I am able to do this please visit my website at


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November 24, 2008

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