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Watch and get the specifics on exactly how to isolate your child and how to use the choice chart itself.

Click here to get PDFs of The Rules, Choice Charts for 1 – 4 children, as well as language you can use to explain the rules and introduce the Choice Chart to your children.

Click here for Word versions of Choice Charts for 1 – 4 children which can be used to customize the chart for your children.

Hi, my name is Cara Day. Welcome to Daychild. Today I’m going to be talking with you about the 3rd and 4th steps of the Choice Chart system, which are the isolation time, and marking the penalty.

We will also find out what to do if your child won’t go in and stay in their isolation place to serve their penalty.

In the first videos, we learned the five basic steps of the choice chart:

The Steps

Step 1: Identify the Behavior type
Step 2: Give Verbal Redirection
Step 3: Isolate
Step 4: Mark Penalty
Step 5: Reward with Pay Day Dinner

And, we learned the 3 Rules that cover any type of behavior your child can display

The Rules

1. We cooperate.
We speak kindly.
We keep our hands, feet and other objects to ourselves.

We then learned how to identify the behavior type as a start, stop, or never behavior. After that, we talked about exactly how to give an effective verbal redirection for each of the behavior types, as well as how to be a Spock parent, on a word diet, as you isolate your child.

Ok, now we are on to some additional things you need to know about isolating your child and why isolation is the consequence with the Choice Chart.

Isolation = 30 minutes

The length of the isolation is 30 minutes, for children 6 and up. Thirty minutes gives you each a real break. It’s a meaningful amount of time that your child will not want to lose in the future. For younger ages, such as children aged 3 to 5, I recommend 10 – 15 minutes.

Isolating your child for one minute per year of age, as is commonly recommended, isn’t long enough. It doesn’t give them or you a break, and it’s hardly a consequence.

Isolation = 30 minutes
Isolation location = bedroom, laundry room or shower

The isolation location is most commonly your child’s bedroom. They can do what they want in their room with the exception of no technology. Technology includes any screen TV, smart phone, ipads, game boys, and similar things.

These types of devices are not really recommended to be in the bedroom at any time, because they impede learning, family time, and the development of important social skills.

If the bedroom does not work for isolation for some reason, a laundry room or the shower can work well. Being fully clothed in a dry shower is sure to provide inspiration for new behavior choices!

Isolation = 30 minutes
Isolation location = bedroom, laundry room or shower
No talking, or the time starts over

Next, there’s No talking during isolation, or the time starts over. If your child is calling to you, yelling, or otherwise trying to talk to you, you say, “Your time starts when you are quiet.” Only say it once.

Remember, if you keep repeating yourself, they are getting a pay-off for their behavior–the pay-off is your attention. You can say, “I will let you know when you can come out.”

Also, if they kick the door or wall, swear, or do any other behavior they would normally get a penalty for, their time starts over. Depending on how annoyed you are at this point, you may decide to just go ahead and give them a second penalty–right then. That’s up to you!

Isolation = 30 minutes
Isolation location = bedroom, laundry room or shower
No talking, or the time starts over
Word Diet and Spock Parent = No emotion

Once again, your demeanor in steps 1 to 3 of the Choice Chart system is critical.

It’s important to have a firm, loving parent voice. This should be a voice that your children recognize once they hear it. It’s not mean, raised, frenetic, panicked, controlling, or angry.

It’s calm. It’s loving. It’s firm. It is void of emotion. It is matter-of-fact. Like that!

Most parents expend a lot of energy and emotion when their children are not listening to them. This is a BIG mistake. It’s exactly what your child wants, and it’s the pay-off they get for being out of alignment.

Remember to only give your children your emotions when you are engaging in the many other wonderful things you do as a family. That’s the time to reward them with your passion, emotion, and energy.

Your child MUST learn that you mean what you say and that you do what you’ve said you will do. And that means, the first time you say it.

The FIRST time!

Ok, so inevitably, some might be asking asking, what if my child will not go to their room on their own AND/OR will not stay in their room? What can I do then?

If you are at a point where you do not have verbal control of your child, and they will not go to or stay in their room, the time is now for you to fix this. Remember, if you do not have this ability now, your enjoyment of life with your child will diminish significantly once they are as big or bigger than you.

This is because they will make daily life a struggle. Or, they will leave you, either by physically leaving the home, because they can, or they will “leave” by numbing themselves with drugs, alcohol, sex, or all three. They will have started down what can become a long path of pain, that can take many years, if not the rest of their lives, to recover from.

If your children will not listen to your directions when they’re little, they are not going to just magically start listening to you at some point later on. It doesn’t work that way.

Time starts now. You can gain a natural authority with your children by following the guidelines in the Choice Chart series. You just need to make the decision to do it.

Excellent parenting is a decision.

Ok, now back to getting your kids to go and stay in their room for isolation.

One family I coached that consisted of grandparents raising 5 grandchildren aged 4 to 13. They had the issue of children not going and staying in their room. We devised that they would to say to the children, “If you go to your room on your own, you can keep the door open during your isolation. If I have to help you, then your door will be closed. Please make your choice.”

So, they used the door being open as a bargaining chip, and it worked. The kids did not want their door closed, so they started going into their rooms on their own. For me, I always wanted the door closed when my children were in isolation, and since I had established a natural authority with them, they keep it closed. Again, you need to think about your children, your unique situation, and make it work for you.

I have also had many parents ask me if they should hold the door closed if their child is coming out or trying to open it, or put a latch at the top of the door, on the outside. Either will work, it just depends on what you are comfortable with. Try to pick a solution that saves your parental energy, and is safe for your child.

Ok, so your child is in their isolation place, serving their penalty, so it is time to mark the Choice Chart.

Ok, here’s a completed choice chart. You will see a place for your family name, and the month. On the left, you see your children’s names. To the right of that, the days of the month, from the 1st to the 31st. You can use the same chart, even if the month has only 30 days. Just ignore the 31st.

In the description of this video there is a link to a word document with choice charts for families with 1 – 4 children. If you have more than four children, you can combine one or more of the choice charts designed for people who have 1 – 4 children, to add up to the number of children you have.

You can customize the word document with your children’s names and you are ready to get started. You can also simply print the blank pdf and handwrite your children’s names into the choice chart.

Next, you will want to get the smallest round stickers you can buy. Teacher supply stores have these in abundance, but they are hard to find elsewhere. Of course, they are easy to get from amazon.

Just type in “Super Spots rewards stickers” and there will be a great pack of stickers that will last a very long time.

Ok, so now your child has received a penalty and it’s time to mark the choice chart. This means you put a tally mark into your child’s box for that day. You put one tally mark for each penalty. Use a pen. This is so no one can erase a penalty at a later time.

Penalties cannot be erased. Once you say it, it’s done. Don’t negotiate out of it. Even if you later think you made a mistake by giving the penalty, just change what you do going forward, rather than back-tracking.

Also, adults mark the choice chart. I already tried letting kids mark the choice chart–it didn’t work, so you don’t have to try it. I won’t get into all the things that happened when I tried to let kids mark the choice chart.

Remember, and remind your child, that every day they start with an empty box—a clean start! It feels great for a child to know that every day they get a fresh start.

When you reach the time of day that you have chosen for putting the stickers on the chart, put a sticker into the box if your child received no penalties. If there is even one penalty, they do not get a sticker for that day.

Each month, post a fresh chart.

Another unique element to the Choice Chart system is that there is No lecturing or forced fake apologies once isolation is over—you just start the love and fun.

No lecturing
No forced, fake apologies

Often times, parents want to use the end of the isolation period to tell their child once again why what they did was unacceptable, etc. Or, they force their child to say sorry to them or to someone else who was transgressed. Don’t do this!


When your child’s isolation is over, walk to their room and say, “Yea! This is awesome, you get to come out now. Come see what we are doing.” Give your child a hug. Be loving and playful.

If you, yourself, were upset by the last penalty, take some time while your child is isolation to center yourself, so you can greet your child with love when they are done with their isolation.

If you want to learn some ways to center yourself as a parent, you can learn how in our free e-book, The Chit-Chat, available at Daychild,org. You just click it, and it’s yours!

You might be wondering, “When do I talk with my child about their misbehavior if I’m not supposed to do it just before or after the penalty?” It is very important that you do this, so let me share some options.

One way is to discuss the behavior in general terms with your whole family when you are at the dinner table, or at another time when your whole family is together. This is especially true if it’s a behavior that your other children sometimes display as well. This is very effective.

Another great way to address behavior is by having a chit-chat. Again, you can go to, to check out the free e-book that describes exactly how to have a chit-chat.

A chit-chat can last a few minutes, or an hour! And you can use it to discuss any topic where you want to see real change occur.

Ok, so to summarize, you’ve isolated your child, marked the penalty chart, and greeted them in a loving way when the isolation ended. If they earned 3 penalties, they sat out for the rest of the day and had a sandwich for lunch and/or dinner. And, you marked three penalties in their box.

The next morning, or at whatever time each day you have chosen to put the stickers on, you put a sticker in the empty box if your child received no penalties.

Now, you are ready to learn how the Choice Chart works when you are not at home, as well as the last step, The Payday Dinner.