Blanket training is an allocated amount of time during the day where an infant or toddler is required to remain on a blanket or play mat for a limited period of time, with a few selected toys. When the child moves to leave the blanket, parents are instructed to hit the child with a flexible ruler or another similar object. Many of those doing it have voiced online that they start by doing five minutes a day and build up the intervals over time, with some extending it to 30 minutes or more. Proponents believe that blanket training helps very young children to learn self-control. Critics of the technique cite the use of corporal punishment in conjunction with blanket training, although this is not necessarily involved. The system is focused on rewards such as the toys given to the child, and regular positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Proponents of blanket training cite the technique as a means to keep very young children occupied and in a safe place while a parent is busy with tasks nearby, or in public places such as a crowded park.
Blanket training, also known as 'blanket time,' is a method adapted from the methods encouraged in To Train Up a Child, a controversial parenting book which includes and advocates techniques that have been linked to multiple child deaths.
Dr. Robert Bucknam, M.D., and co-author Gary Ezzo are also proponents of blanket training, as referenced in their On Becoming Babywise system of parent-centered child-rearing that has been associated with infantile failure to thrive, dehydration, malnutrition, problems with milk supply in breastfeeding mothers, and involuntary early weaning.