As a parent I know that for every bit of fun and enjoyment to be had with children around there’s always the possibility of consequences and necessary discipline, too. It’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their children right from wrong, as well as how to behave, how to treat others, etc. – I know, it’s a BIG job!
With seven kids of my own ranging in age from 8 months to 27 years old, I’ve learned a thing or two about being creative when it comes to consequences and discipline.
Motivate Positively: First things first, you can try to steer your children in the right direction to avoid some unnecessary (and not-so-fun) consequences and disciplinary actions simply by motivating them positively with some sort of reward system. Sticker charts are great as are coin jars and other similar items. With this idea you’ll be able to discuss behaviors and expectations early-on, and your child will know exactly what they’ll need to do in order to earn a sticker or have a nickel deposited in their coin jar. Your children will behave while working towards a reward and at the same time learning how to be a kind and contributing member of the family.
Consequence Jar: Just as your children will be able to have a nickel added to their coin jar or a sticker to their sticker chart for behaving well, they might also have to draw a Popsicle stick from the consequence jar when they misbehave. Some ideas for this jar include: early bedtime, no television for a night, an extra chore, a timeout, etc. A substitute to the consequence jar is a consequence spinner (you can even purchase them online) wherein your child spins a wheel in order to determine their consequence instead of drawing a Popsicle stick from a jar. With this method, your child is essentially choosing his or her own consequence and you’ll be around for the follow through.
Let Them Decide: By bringing your child into the conversation and letting them help determine their consequence they’ll be able to fully contemplate the severity of their actions as well as brainstorm what kinds of consequences would be equivalent to those poor or negative actions and behaviors. Writing up a behavior contract, and having your child sign it once you decide upon a consequence you both find suitable is also a great activity and possibly a bit of a consequence in itself. After your child sits and thinks about what they did wrong, determines what their consequence will be and then writes the whole thing out to sign they’ll likely have a whole new outlook and certainly won’t be confused about what they did wrong in the first place.
Teaching your children how they’re expected to behave on a day-to-day basis is difficult, and chances are you’ll have to discipline your children for their actions a time or two before they figure things out.
Good luck and happy parenting!