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HomeEducation "The Naughty Chair" tames the dangerous side of independence

“The Naughty Chair” tames the dangerous side of independence

Main Entry: naugh·ty Pronunciation: \?no?-t?, ?nä-\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): naugh·ti·er; naugh·ti·est
Etymology: Middle English noughti, from nought Date: 14th century
1 a: archaic: vicious in moral character. Check
1 b: guilty of disobedience or misbehavior. Check,check
2: lacking in taste or propriety. Sometimes, yes. Check, Check, Check

Being a former Preschool teacher I understood that sooner or later I would have to institute a “Time-Out” area for my toddler. However, I didn’t realize it would be sooner, rather than later.

As I saw the approaching need I began to scout out local antique stores and Malls, yard sales, garage sales, and Ma and Pa, Grandma, and Grandpa’s attics, looking for just the right stool. Requirements were as follows:

  • Sturdy : It had to be sturdy enough for a temper tantrum, heavy enough for back arching, and stable enough for head slinging.
  • Short : It had to be short enough so she wouldn’t hurt herself should any or all of the above happen, causing her to fall from the chair.
  • Attractive: It had to be attractive enough to remain a constant presence in the main room of my house, but not so cute that she would want to play on it, and make it her own.
  • (Last but certainly not least)Reliable: It had to be reliable and well made so that it may last over a period of years. In other words it needed to be made before 1965.

So imagine my joy when I found all of the above at an Antique Mall in Adams, Tennessee! A small red,sturdy child’s bench. Then imagine my bit of passing guilt that I had just found joy in something that would bring displeasure to my sweet toddler that was sitting quietly on the floor of this old school house rolling a toy car back and forth in front of her.

I remind myself that this sweet, timid child with clean shiny hair, chubby little thighs, and a small dimple that she borrowed from my left cheek, is capable of such things that will remain untyped, for protection of her developing reputation. Most of all she needs to learn the consequence, in a safe way, of not running up and touching the stove repeatedly, which seems to be the source of most of her behavior issues, while I try to cook yet another ‘Skillet Sensation’ for my family each night. .

At 4:30 p.m. Janurary 21st, 2007 we found out the person growing inside of me was a little girl.

At 4:32 p.m. Janurary 21st, 2007 I had a vision this day would come.

Elle-girl has a strong will, supported by an independent streak. Being that she is Female I want her to be able to develop her voice and her opinions. I want her to build the type of character she would need to  stand up someday to a sexual predator, or abuser, or even the more than likely mean girl in her playgroup. At the same time I’m still holding on to the Old Fashioned ideals instilled in me, my mother, and grandmother before me, that politeness and manners rule the day, and hard work and ethics that are so finely ingrained in my husband by his parents and grandparents before him, will prove to work in her favor down the line.

So how did I introduce this newest addition to our home? I waited for the right time of day, Supper time. I brought out my little red chair, and one of Elle-girl’s books about emotions. I  read through the book, stopping and pointing to each emotion expressed by the children in her book. When I came to

“N is for Naughty, when I don’t do what I’m told”

I pointed to the picture and said “Oh no, he is being naughty” then to the chair, “This is the naughty chair, you will sit here when you don’t do what you’re told.”

A serious look came over her face, her voice lowered and she said “Ohhhhh…..Dop” came from her lips as she held up her little hand to sign ‘Stop’ toward the chair.

“Yes, that’s right. That’s where you go when you need to ‘Stop’.”

She got it. Age 13months. Understands right from wrong….Check.

Thirty minutes later she got to test out her new chair. She sat there, surprisingly, but, she hated it!
One minute later she was able to get up.  Since then she walks a few feet distance from the chair, holding her little hand up to sign ‘Stop’. And you know what? We haven’t had to use the chair since!

Adams Antique Mall, Adams,Tennessee, home of the best time out chairs south of the Mason Dixon line!

The Antique Mall in Adams, Tennessee



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