Kids are a joy to have, but there are times when even the most patient parent might find the need to rein in their little bundles of joy and create a framework of discipline. But before you decide to punish your children, take some time to cool down and consider the best way to deal with the situation.
Common disciplinary methods such as grounding or scolding may work to some extent, but the impact of such methods is often short term at best. It might be good to try working towards disciplining your children in a manner which is gentle, firm and effective. Here are some creative methods to teach your child what you expect from them.
Time Out for Toys
Many parents resort to taking toys away from their children as a punishment for bad behaviour. A more effective method would be to put these toys in “time out”. Time out means that the toys are out of circulation for a period of time. Explain why your child’s behaviour was unacceptable and set a specific time limit for the time out. Ideally, time out should not last longer than 2 or 3 days or your child may end up forgetting about the toys and the method loses its efficacy.
Wheel of Consequence
Create a Wheel of Consequence by cutting up a piece of cardboard into a circular shape. Divide the circle into “pizza slices”. Each time your child misbehaves, write down punishments appropriate for your child in each slice, and have them spin the wheel to see what punishment they will receive. This way, they will realize that anything can happen to them when they do something wrong. However, make one of the slices a “Grace Space” with no punishment. If your child is “lucky” enough to arrive at that slice during the spin, it doesn't mean that your child will not learn anything. It can still help your children realize the wrong in their actions and how they are lucky enough to not have to face any consequences this time for what they have done.
Take the time to sit down with your children and write out a behavioural contract together. State what is to be expected of them and what will happen the next time they cross the line. For example, the contract can state the risk of your children losing their gaming console or favourite food for one week. Although your children might still be young, make it formal by having the contract signed and dated. This will teach your children the idea of responsibility from a young age, and it also eliminates any chances of them saying they never agreed to anything in the first place.
It is natural for parents to feel angry towards their children whenever they do something naughty. However, take the time to calm down before approaching your child and dealing with the situation.
Common harsh disciplinary methods may work sometimes, but they are not recommended as their effects may not be sustainable.
Children can be taught and disciplined effectively with creative ways that do not necessarily involve scolding and meltdowns.