Friday, February 6, 2009


Getting Children to Help Create Their Own Punishments

To finish our series about discipline we recommend creating a discipline chart with children.

Have the children help you make their discipline chart. For example, ask the children what they think would be a fair punishment for a sibling that yells at the other, if they talk back to an adult, or tease others.

Once the children have chosen their appropriate punishments, write the rules on a piece of poster board that you can post in a visible place, (like the refrigerator).

There will be no need to yell at the kids if they misbehave. No negotiating necessary. They only need to see the chart. The children cannot claim that the punishment is unfair when they help determine appropriate consequences for misbehavior.

The chart might include the following:

Yelling = no computer rest of the day.
Hitting = go to your room.
Talking Back = no phone usage for the rest of the day.
Calling Names = no television for the rest of the day.
Making Bed: star on reward chart.
Setting Table: Pick a book from library.

What forms of discipline do you use working with children?


Anonymous said...

In previous posts over the past few days nannies sound frustrated about the issue of disciplining other parents' kids. Yes, it is true, nannies care for children that are not theirs and must respect their employers wishes. But, that does not mean at all that our hands are tied. I love working with the parents on creative was to help teach their kids proper behavior.

We use a mixture of everything listed I think. The main point about discipline is that it is constantly changing and needs to be creative, fair, kind and firm.

Don't give up just because they aren't your kids. They are your responsibility and great caregivers give 100% to the families they work for. If you throw up your hands in disgust or despair than you are in the wrong job.

Felicia, Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Time outs have worked best for me- but that has been for children who I've known since they were young toddlers. I only had to use time-outs about a hand-ful for each. As the children were usually very well behaved, because I let them know what was expected of them- and what to expect in a certain situation. It helps a great deal to make sure children were well fed, rested, given lots of attention, as those are the times when children find it difficult to be on their best behavior.

Many times I would ask- "Do you need a time out or a hug?" ~or~ "Do you know what you are doing is unacceptable behavior?" or do you need me to tell you what you are doing is wrong?"
Can you stop yourself from (Jumping on the sofa...etc...) or do you need me to stop you?"

If they still could not control themselves I would give a time out. They always said they were sorry. I told them, "If you are truely sorry the way you can show me is that you won't do that again."

I also noticed with toddlers the blow outs came when I would have to say NO. So I changed my answer to - "Not right now- after..."
"Later sweetie.." and that helped to curb a melt down.

We also spoke about feelings and how to verbalize what we were feeling- or to just say-
"I am not feeling like I can behave right now."
So I'd tell them to breathe and count to 5, go take a sip of water.

I also feel it's very importnat to teach patience from an early age.

I understand discipline is harder for older children and like your ideas of having the children come up with their own punishments.

Andrea- Northern, NJ

Anonymous said...

We do include a list of rewards and punishments on the fridge. The kids are rewarded for setting table, clearning their plates, making their beds, help put clean clothes away, and any other chore they like to help me with. I have rewarded them for sorting and matching laundry (socks) and help folding sheets, and the like.

Punishments are more difficult since what works effectively changes because the kids are so smart. They could care less if they are given a time out at this point. Experts say don't send kids to bedroom where they ought to be safe and happy. So the parents give me ideas and then I take away priveleges like tv, computer, video games, playdates, no dessert, and so on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the idea. I think that if my older charges help pick their punishments and rewards it will mean something. We will try this approach.
Steffie, Orlando