I’ve been wanting to write an article about Creative Consequences for kids, but first a little background.
Recently I was at the pool with my kids and a lady asked the typical question – “Are all of these your kids?”
“Of course,” I reply. “All five of them.”
Then she followed with asking if we homeschool.
“Yes we do.”
Then she asked a question that I’m not sure a random stranger had asked me before.
“What do you do about discipline?”
That made me actually think. What do we do about discipline?
For starters, I don’t refer to it so much as discipline, but as consequences.
Consequence is defined as a result or effect of an action or condition. This means good things and not so good things are a result of our actions.
When discipline is needed, I like for the consequence to fit the “crime” and flip it around to be something beneficial. Here are a few examples of common occurrences in our house and how we deal with them.
Creative Consequence Examples From Our Family:
When a child oversteps his boundaries and bosses another child, I simply say “Oh hey there! I didn’t realize that you wanted to be the mommy/daddy today! I’m so glad to have a helper! I need you to (unload the dishwasher, take the dog out, help sibling with their shoes, take out the trash, etc) since you would like to be in charge, and I’ll take a break!” This usually helps remind them that the way they are acting is not ok. And yes, they are expected to complete whatever I just assigned to them.
My son can sometimes get too rough with his sisters or often “forgets” to do his chores completely. When this happens, I assign pushups. Not a ton, but even 10-20 can be a reminder of being disciplined enough to remember what is expected of him. This is a win-win. Not only is he getting a consequence to his actions, but he’s getting stronger! Now he can do over 30 pushups with not too much effort! He has even gotten to where he honestly doesn’t mind doing them!
Disrespect can get you any number of sentences to write, or even a 5 paragraph essay and/or a research project. That way they are simultaneously working on their writing skills.
During school time, sometimes the kids get fidgety or can’t focus. Instead of yelling at them to pay attention, I send them out to run the cul-de-sac a few times. I throw out a number of laps for them to run and often they will end up doing even more before coming inside so they can get all of their energy out. Now this isn’t meant to be over the top, where the kids are bitter at you. I’m not talking a hundred laps. I’m saying throw out 5 or 10 and see what they do.
Turning in sloppy schoolwork? Make them completely re-do it!
Wanting to go to youth group or another function and haven’t done your chores? Don’t expect mom to remind you. If it’s not done when it’s time to leave, sorry! You’re not going.
Leaving toys all over the house? You may find them in the bucket in the garage waiting to be donated or in toy time-out. Toys then have to be earned back.
Not listening when it’s time to leave the pool? Next time we go, you can sit out 5 minutes before getting in since you weren’t obedient.
Of course we have natural consequences as well. Too rough with a toy or possession and it breaks? I’m sorry. Mom is not going to buy a new one. However, you’re welcome to check the Jobs for Hire list and save up.
Take too long getting ready for bed? Sorry, you’ve used up story time.
Another fun one that I often use is ask them what their consequence should be for the incident. I’ve been amazed at some of the things that the kids have come up with.
Summarizing Our Creative Consequences Ideas:
- Extra chores
- Pushups / burning off energy
- Sentence Writing/Essay Writing (depending on age)
- Being a sibling’s helper for a length of time
- Natural consequences
- Loss of privileges
It’s good to remember that the ultimate goal is to teach your children and not to humiliate them. Do you have any other creative consequences that work for your family? What do you do in your house?