Anyone who has a child in the age group of 8-11 years knows that the earlier disciplining methods suddenly stop working. Children who understood time-out as a punishment, don’t take it seriously now, the moment they become 8. Disciplining children is never easy; add to it the fact that as they grow older the earlier strategies stop working, makes coming up with new strategies a requirement. I was frustrated with this for some time now. The fact that my younger kid too picks up from what he sees, doesn’t help and then I am stuck with two kids who are a handful!
Over the years with some conscious effort and a lot of failed attempts later I have found some creative strategies that work. I have found these to be a better option that any other punishment and as they are situational, children cannot anticipate it 😛
Anything left on the floor gets binned!
This is something that I do frequently. My kids refused to pick up their toys and art material. After repeated reminders, it just got shoved under the bed or some other corner. Finally this is what I came up with. I ask them to pick up just one time with a warning that if my request is not heeded to, whatever is on the floor will get binned. The first time children didn’t take me seriously. I actually binned a couple of things. That is when they knew I meant business, and they started paying heed to my request.
If the toys are expensive or something I know children enjoy playing, I keep them with myself and children have an option to get it back if they do a certain chore in the house for a week. This has been equally effective for me.
No movie weekend
With the year 2020 limiting any kind of outdoor activities to a minimum, weekends are usually spent at home. To bring some fun and normalcy to the weekend, we have started this movie weekend ritual where children get to choose the movie they wish to see over the weekend. My kids really look forward to this and if they have been behaving out of tune, this is one sure shot way to get them back on track. Unruly behavior means no movie weekend or the child who isn’t listening will miss his chance to choose the movie. This has also helped them understand that there are consequences for everything.
The offender does a chore for the other
My biggest task with both the children is to get them to play along without trying to drown the others voice. They are relentless in their fights. It is like watching a live ‘Tom and Jerry’ show. They can’t live together but they can’t stay apart for more than 5 minutes either. So, if the older child ends up mouthing bad words or the younger one raise’s his hand then they need to do a chore for the other sibling for a week! This is extremely annoying for both of them and has been a great deterrent for children.
Everytime they misbehave they pay
This works like a charm with the older child. She knows the value of money and keeps a hawk eye on her piggy bank deposits. Everytime she misbehaves or needs disciplining in a certain situation I take some money from her piggy bank. Like there was a time when I just couldn’t get her to not jump on the furniture. My low seating chic décor, ended up being a great place for her to practice hurdle-racing! Finally I resorted to deducting Rs.10 from her piggybank everytime she jumped on the furniture and even before I reached Rs.100 it was sorted 😛
If you have a tween at home, you might also like to read some positive affirmations that can get the child to think differently.
Things you forget, you don’t get –
There is an age when children suddenly stop being mindful about their things. My older child was always the one who would keep her things in order and never lose them however of late, she seemed to be forgetting things and that behavior was getting on to me. A simple thing like taking water bottle to playground was something that I had to remind regularly. Finally I just stopped getting it for her. If she was thirsty she had to go all the way home to drink water. We did this twice before she actually started remembering to carry her bottle.
Let them cool off –
This is something my husband has devised. Everytime there is a meltdown, all he asks the kids to do is go to a different room and cool off. They just need to go to a room which has no devices. They can vent, cry or do whatever that makes them calmer. Once they feel they are calmer, they can join us back in the room. If the meltdown is an attention grabbing technique, children have realized that it does not work. No point being asked to go into a room all by themselves while the others are enjoying a meal or a program.
I am not saying I have found a fool-proof way to discipline children while being a calm and composed mom. I am far from it. But with these tricks the screaming parties have definitely come down. It is a task to have a tween and a 5+ year old under one roof. They are both at an age where they are trying to be assertive and that can push some buttons, but these tips have been helping me. What about you guys? Have you found some creative ways to discipline your child? Share in comments below.