Corner time is a form of time-out where the child (or adult, e.g. in role play) is made to stand in a corner of the room for a period of time. It combines the practical side of time-outs (calming down etc.) with a pose or position of shame] and thus can be regarded a form of psychological punishment.
Corner time is a time-out variant that restricts physical movement tightly and enforces complete inactivit for its duration (whereas grounding or being sent to one's room, for example, permit relatively free movement and manifold activities to enjoy oneself and pass the time). It is therefore a popular technique for teaching discipline.
Applying the technique
There are many variants to corner time. The child can face the room, however usually the punishment is to face the corner, so he or she is more isolated from the rest of the room.
The parent will usually tell the child to go to the corner and stand there still and quiet until he or she is told to go out again. Fidgeting (failure to stand still) during corner time is a frequent cause of extension or escalation of punishment.
Pediatrists and developmental psychologists recommend to give for a short time-out approximately one minute per year of age (e.g. 5 minutes for a 5-year-old, 10 minutes for a 10-year-old. That time may be doubled if necessary if the child pushes their limits during the time-out. To keep easy track of the time, a kitchen timer can be set.
Corner time is considered the most humiliating form of time-out. Additional instructions (popular in role play) can be where to place the hands (e.g. hands on head) and how exactly to stand (e.g. legs shoulder-width apart, one foot from the walls).
Corner time variants
- sitting on a chair or stool (or worse, a punishment stool)
- kneeling on the floor
- kneeling on a painful object such as a log of wood, rice or peas
- kneeling on a padded chair or stool
Where to put the hands:
- hands held on back
- hands behind head
- hands on head
- hands on buttocks
Touching the wall:
- must not touch the wall
- must touch the wall(s) with the elbows
- must touch the wall(s) with the forehead
- must touch the wall with the nose (e.g. holding a coin or piece of paper)
State of (un)dress:
- fully dressed
- pants/briefs/panties lowered to below the bottom, to knee level, or to the ankles
- pants/briefs/panties taken off
- skirt pinned up
- skirt held up
- wearing only underwear
- fully nude/naked
- with a spanking implement hung in the corner, in front of the delinquent's eyes
- with a spanking implement held in the delinquent's hands
- with a book or other object balanced on the head (to stop fidgeting)
Corner time and spanking
Corner time can be given before or after a spanking, or both.
Before the spanking, it serves to
- allow both the child and the parent to calm down,
- let the child think about what he or she did and why they deserve the spanking,
- give the parent time to prepare the spanking (e.g. fetch the implement of choice).
After the spanking, it
- gives the child time for themselves to calm down again and stop crying,
- time to think again on what he or she had done,
- extends the punishment and humiliation if the child is made to stand in the corner with their red-spanked bottom on display, and is not allowed for the duration of the time-out to rub their bottom.
Corner time can also be given in a break between spankings to give the spanker and/or spankee a rest before administering additional punishment.
Corner time in adult role play