Elementary school children are starting to spread their wings and work toward becoming the adults they one day will be, but they still need some guidance in learning what are good things to do. A lot of the advice for toddlers, funnily enough, still applies here, like staying calm and being prompt. But these older children are capable of a lot more than the toddlers, and here are some ways in which discipline may work best for them and you.
- Allow them to have a say. Hear them out on why they engaged in the difficult behavior. If possible, come to a compromise on what the consequences should look like. If necessary, have a timeout before discussing consequences, so everyone has a chance to calm down.
- Catch them being good. Be sure to praise them as much (or more) for what they do right than criticize what they do wrong.
- Keep rules clear and consistent. Explain why these rules exist. For example, their bedtime is so early so they have energy for school the next day.
- Use when-and-then statements. For example, “When you are done with homework, then you can play video games.” This will give them a feeling of control and make your expectations clear.
Elementary-age children have a little more self-control than younger children, and they can use logic a little bit better. These traits make discipline for an older child look different. They still need guidance, but that guidance needs to be clear and make sense. With these tips, elementary school children can continue to grow into healthy adults.
By Bethanie Ryan