How to Discipline Children

Learn the best methods of how to discipline children effectively, through loss of privileges, time out for kids and logical consequences. When it comes to helping a child be the best they can be, disciplining may be one of the most important ways you can accomplish this.

Sometimes parents feel bad if their children get angry or sad because they aren’t allowed to do or have something, but let me assure you – It is good for them to NOT always get what they want! It’s even better for them to learn that actions have consequences at an early age.

This doesn’t mean you have to yell, scold or even spank your children to discipline. It just means that you SHOULD give a consequence, such as no TV or video games, when their child bad behavior is deserving of this. Consequences can come in many forms, including time out, having to do extra chores, or losing a privilege.

How to Discipline Children by Losing Privileges

Using this technique as toddler discipline, will probably be difficult given their inability to completely understand the concept as it relates to their behaviors. You may choose this method of how to discipline children that are younger as it relates logically to their behavior (eg. immediately taking a toy away they are using to hit another child), but it generally is best for older children that can understand why they are losing the privilege.

Start by letting your child know in advance what behaviors will result in loss of certain privileges and what those will be. Always be sure to follow through on this as well or it will not be effective. If you say there is no TV for one day, then there should be absolutely no TV (not even for video games) for one day. It may help to make a chart, for older children that can read, listing the behaviors and their consequences.

The severity of loss should fit the child’s age and the behavior. When choosing how to discipline children that are preschool aged, the loss should not exceed one week, but is better to be approximately one day depending on the behavior. For older children that are aware of days, weeks and months you can have the time period be longer. Just beware of the possibility that your child could lose all privileges and then have terrible behavior because they have nothing left to lose.

For high frequency behaviors, you may choose to make the time period shorter so that the child doesn’t feel like there is no point in even trying to be good. For example, if hitting is a major problem that happens a lot during the day, you may remove a favorite toy for 15 minutes every time the child hits. If they hit 4 times, then they lose it for one hour.

You may also use the loss of free play before bedtime. If cursing is a problem, you may say they will lose 5 or 10 minutes of free play before bedtime for each curse word said. Then if bedtime is typically at 9 p.m. and they said three curse words that day, their new bedtime would be 8:30 p.m. (curse words said at bedtime can cause loss of free play before bedtime the next day).

For parents that are able to provide a weekly allowance, you might deduct part of that amount for certain behaviors. If you typically allow 2 hours of TV each day, you might deduct part of TV time for that or the following day depending on whether the child has already watched it for the day when they do the behavior.

I do recommend if you are having tantrums that evolve around having to stop TV or stop playing video games, to not allow these privileges for 1-4 days following that behavior depending on age. This is a logical and related consequence to the behavior.

Another option would be to have the child earn the item back after it is removed for at least one day. This may mean doing extra chores around the house or extra chores for a sibling that was affected by the behavior. You may even use this method for kids that don’t clean up their toys when you ask them to. Simply pick them up yourself and then have them do a chore to earn them back of course this would imply they want the item back enough to do a chore.

How to Discipline Children Using Time Out

In addition to losing privileges or using logical consequences, some parents may also want to learn how to discipline children with time outs. This page provides step by step instructions for doing this and includes a video snippet of Supernanny showing the struggle it can be to implement at first and the end reward of following through and remaining consistent.