The Punishment Stool

For all of my experience with children, especially preschoolers, it never ceases to amaze me how much I *DON’T* know about toddlers. A few years ago, a girlfriend told me about her “punishment couch”–where her then-toddler had to sit when she did things like spit milk in Daddy’s face, torment the dog, things like that. Things, that at the time, I couldn’t imagine a small child doing–after all, where would her motivation be, anyway?

Fast Forward to today:
M is so totally hip, it’s scary. Last weekend, while we were all home, alone, enjoying a quiet holiday, we devised a consequence system for Miss Thing. “No”. “Stool”. “To your room”. That’s the part I left out in my Christmas post!!

The game in question is , “turn on the dishwasher”. It is SOOO much fun to turn the dial on the dishwasher, and after being told ,”No” and “Walk Away”, M just erupted in to scores of laughter. Soooo we now have a stool in the foyer where nothing exciting is, and if she turns on the dishwasher, she has to sit there while we count to 10. 10 is a very big number to count to these days.

Another fun game? Standing on a chair. What chair, you ask? Any chair. Her arm chair, her rocking chair….so after being told “No”, the chair gets put away. Typically, she’ll go find another chair to stand on. Today she stood on the chair, got down when I told her no (I, foolishy thinking she wasn’t up for games today) and waited until I wasn’t looking……AND STOOD ON THE CHAIR AGAIN, hysterically laughing. Hysterically laughing until I turned around and took the chair away. Seriously–she knows when I’m watching and when I’m not.

Another fun game? Wiggly worm during diaper changes. Running around the room naked. Curling up on her pillow, naked. Streaking through the neighborhood if we let her.

IF the stool fails (it does for me–a lot), I leave her in her room for 1-2 minutes alone. That will generally solicit a much more cooperative girl. Unless she gets into the drawers, the wipes, the diapers…anything not 4 feet up off the ground or securely tied down.

Seriously, at 17 months, should she be *THIS* smart?

Update, May 12, 2010: This post remains one of the top ways readers find my blog. I thought I’d update what works for us for toddlers this year, now that Jr is about MaM’s age when I posted this. Check out Punishment Stool, circa 2010.  Thanks for reading!

2 Replies to “The Punishment Stool”

  1. Oh my goodness, is this what I have to look forward to?? My dear is only 8 months and walking around the table s….I am freaking out just a little. It’s funny how God gives them to you all cute and tiny and NOT mobile and then He adds a little mobility and talking at a time to lull you into a sense of being able to handle it. YIKES
    (I keep up with you…I don’t blog on my blog anymore but I’m around)

  2. Ha! Baby A is doing the same things. Usually, he lags behind the MOnkey (interestingly, a new nickname in our household) on these lovely milestones, but we’re right with you now!

    Only we climb on the church pew, and play with light switches and TV buttons. And our stool is a pack and play in the family room.

    Ooooh – the devilish smile, chuckle and frenzy to hurry and do the deed when he sees one of us coming after him……

    You’re not alone, Ma’am…

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