Why Kate Middleton and Prince William Reportedly Use a "Chat Sofa" With George, Charlotte, and Louis

It allows the royal parents to listen to what their little ones have to say.

  • According to the Sun, Prince William and Duchess Kate have coined a particular method to discipline the royal children that doesn't involve a traditional "time out."
  • Per a royal insider, William and Kate will use what they call a "chat sofa" to calmly explain why certain behavior is unacceptable and what the consequences will be.
  • Unlike a time out or other punishments, this allows William and Kate to "listen" to the children as well.

When it comes to parenting, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are known to have a signature style in speaking with their children (opens in new tab), 6-year-old Prince George, 5-year-old Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis (who just turned 2! (opens in new tab)). It's clear that the royal duo have taken a unique approach to navigating parenting in the public eye, but one of their methods for disciplining their cohort (opens in new tab) of youngsters recently made headlines as it's seemingly unheard of.

According to reports from the Sun (opens in new tab), Kate and Will (who have not publicly confirmed they use this technique) are not fans of what's known as the "naughty step" in the United Kingdom, basically a "time out" here in the United States (opens in new tab) — so they turn to what an insider says they call a "chat sofa."

What exactly is a chat sofa, you might ask? It's the royals duo's own method to plainly explain why the child in question has made a mistake and is now having a "talking to," so to speak. "There's no 'naughty step' but there is a 'chat sofa,'" a source told the Sun. "The naughty child is taken away from the scene of the row or disruption and talked to calmly by either Kate or William. Things are explained, and consequences outlined, and they never shout at them."

Their calculated method of discipline reinforces some of the royal couple's most notable parenting techniques. It seems to be a calm way of working through the situation, and allows Kate and William to listen to their children and address them eye-to-eyeas they have been known to do in public appearances. The "chat sofa" is seemingly used by all of the children's care takers, including Maria Borrallo, a nanny who has been serving the royal family for years, according to the newspaper.

Immediately removing the child from a situation in which their behavior is disruptive or unacceptable (opens in new tab) may actually help them feel more understood later on. While a scholarly review published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (opens in new tab) suggests that time outs do not negatively affect children in the long run, some experts believe time outs are structured ineffectively, as they lack a conversation. Emily Mudd, PhD, (opens in new tab) a pediatric behavioral specialist at the Cleveland Clinic that wasn't directly involved in the study, commented on the research (opens in new tab) to explain that smaller children often need direct help in regulating their emotions. She advises parents to try to clarify emotions in the moment ("I can see that you're very angry right now") to help them alleviate emotions, and avoid having to drag on a time out later on — in fact, time outs should only last "one minute per year of age," Mudd said.

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Zee Krstic is a health editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, where he covers the latest in health and nutrition news, decodes diet and fitness trends, and reviews the best products in the wellness aisle. Previously, he covered all things food, home and holidays for Martha Stewart Living. He learned everything he knows about nutrition starting his career at Cooking Light, and has written about food for Time, among other publications.