Good Morning Britain presenter, Piers Morgan, has called it 'a pathetic joke' that nurseries have ditched the word 'naughty'.

At Squiggles we believe that the word naughty should not be used when addressing a child but a clear explaination to why the child's actions were inappropriate and the consequences to them.

Piers Morgan's out spoken nature has lead him to make bold statements at times about subjects where he has little knowledge.

Below is an article from Day Nurseries which explains his recent outburst:


'He tweeted his reaction to a survey carried out by the leading nurseries reviews site,, which found 95 per cent of nursery staff are banned from calling children naughty.


His tweet said: 'So now we can’t even call kids naughty when they’re being naughty? What a pathetic joke. We’re wrecking our children’s chances of surviving & thriving in adult life, in the real world.'

Piers Morgan hosted a debate on the issue on Good Morning Britain. ITV's This Morning and Loose Women also discussed the survey by


Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn has also condemned the stance by nurseries, saying "is it any wonder that kids grow up not knowing right from wrong, or how to behave in public?

"Children need discipline in life. Too few of them seem to get much of that at home these days. The modern 'child-centric' approach seems to have bred a generation of semi-savages, oblivious to the sensibilities of those around them.

"None of this is the fault of the kids themselves. It's down to adults, including those gormless nursery school 'professionals' who have convinced themselves that telling a child they are naughty will irreparably damage their precious self-esteem."

Three-quarters ditch naughty step and thinking chair

The research by found three in five staff don’t agree with using a thinking chair or naughty step in their nursery for managing bad behaviour.


Just over a quarter of nursery staff do use this as a method for controlling children's behaviour, with 74 per cent rejecting it.

This technique is generally used on pre-school children with the child being told to sit in the same spot to reflect upon what they have done.

A spokesperson for said: “It is interesting that the word ‘naughty’ has become a dirty word. I do think if you label a child as naughty it can become self-perpetuating and lead to more bad behaviour.

“The ‘naughty step’ became popular during the time of the TV Supernanny and has evolved over time into the ‘thinking chair’. It seems that an increasing number of nurseries are now also ditching that for ‘thinking time’.

"Every nursery needs some kind of strategy to deal with a child’s disruptive behaviour but these ‘thinking chairs’ need to be monitored to ensure they are not being overused or a child is not sitting there for too long feeling miserable and sad.”

It seems to now be a trend for nursery practitioners to change the name of the naughty step to thinking chair or thinking corner, making the practice sound more reflective than punitive.

'Most children do not like the thinking cloud'

One nursery practitioner told, she uses a ‘thinking cloud’ to manage behaviour.

She said: “I have an Ikea cloud cushion and we call it the thinking cloud. I am working with two and three-year-olds. The children are given a verbal warning and then if the behaviour continues they sit on the thinking cloud for one or two minutes, with the practitioner that has sanctioned it.

“Most children do not like the thinking cloud and usually just the mention works. As we know all children are different and for some children it’s the proverbial water off a duck’s back. These children usually have to then hold the practitioner’s hand for the one or two minutes.”

Even the term ‘Time Out’ has become shunned by many nurseries, with Matthew Byrne, director of Crafty Wizards Pre-School in London, revealing: “We do have 'Thinking Time', I did change the wording at my settings as Time Out now has negative connotations as some settings do use it punitively, in a blanket way and without thought.”

However, he added: “I think some schools automatically jump on the band wagon that Time Out is wrong before finding out what someone means by the term in their setting.

"If it is used regularly, without thought and without positive adult interactions then it is wrong. Used well, I think it does have a place in promoting positive behaviours.

“Giving a child time away from a situation that has caused upset and giving them quite time to reflect, time also to talk to an adult about what has occurred in an age appropriate way, time to model and encourage empathy, time to develop an understanding of feelings is best practice is it not?


“At Crafty Wizards we do not call children naughty and believe that it can negatively impact on how others see that child, from their peers to the adults around them. The child might not be following adult instructions, playing within social norms of behaviour but they are not intrinsically naughty.”

'We believe in promoting good behaviour by positive re-enforcement'


Tops Day Nurseries has also ditched the word ‘naughty’, with its operations director, Amy Alderson, saying: “At Tops Day Nurseries we believe in promoting good behaviour through positive re-enforcement. We avoid secluding or reprimanding children for undesired behaviours and refrain from labelling children’s behaviour as ‘naughty’.

“If a child was throwing hard blocks in the classroom, we would help them identify the impact of their behaviour and they would be re-directed to throw the bean bags in the throwing zone. Re-direction enables children to practice the skills they need to develop in a way that is socially appropriate.

“In the instance of continued undesirable behaviour, it may be appropriate, at times, to give children time in a calming area to think and reflect on their behaviour.

"During these times, our skilful practitioners will be on hand to support the children and talk about what has happened. We call this ‘Thinking time’ and is used as a last resort if children need a little time in a quieter place.

"We do not have a specific chair or area that children go to when they need some time to think, as we believe that this only labels that particular space or chair as the area that you go to when you have done something wrong.”

‘Time Out’ is still used in some nurseries with one practitioner saying: “We use a very short time out if children are hurting others, breaking things or being potentially dangerous and they have already been asked not to and told why.

"We tell the child that they need some time out to calm down and talk to them away from the situation about how they are feeling and why the behaviour was unacceptable. We then talk about alternative ways to act and either re-direct or they return to their previous play.”

However, Tommies Childcare is opposed to the term ‘Time Out, with its operations director, Danielle Butler, saying: “We encourage children to have reflection time away from a situation that may be affecting their behaviour, however this will not be referred to as ‘Time Out’.

"It is important that we take a more holistic approach to managing behaviour, ensuring that the age, and stage of children’s development is considered when deciding the course of action that should be taken in managing behaviour.

“The term ‘naughty’ is one that has held negative connotations particularly in an early years context. There is the potential for children to be labelled with this term, without them being able to understand why their behaviour is unacceptable."

The survey received 1,000 responses from nursery owners, managers and staff.


This article has given us some new ideas and we are looking to use the term 'Thinking time'.

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