Discipline for the Young School-Aged Child

Since Rapunzel’s been in kindergarten, she’s had a bit of an attitude.  Age 4 was difficult, but 5 was okay until we got to the elementary school.  I feared that to be true before we sent her.  Rapunzel attended a Christian preschool, so her entry into the “real world” brought in a host of influences that I would have rather avoided.

Nevertheless, we had to come up with a new discipline plan for this age.  I was not yet involved with Cinderella and Wendy when they were that age, and I never babysat long-term for any children between the ages of 4 and 6.  Our family strongly believes in corporal punishment, but there comes a time when a) it is unnecessary or b) it just isn’t very effective.  Of course, it depends on the child.

What we did with Rapunzel is give her 5 “strikes” per day.  If she had a perfect day, she would be able to retrieve a toy from the “Ransom Box” (This is a box I keep underneath my bed.  When I find things on the floor at the end of the day, they go in this box).  If she is in need of discipline, she receives strikes in this order:

1) No TV
2) No games on Mommy’s phone
3) No computer
4) Loss of whatever fun activity she would have done that day
5) Go to bed 5 minutes early

#5 tends to extend itself some days.  Essentially, each time she ignores me or does something she knows she isn’t supposed to, she’ll get an additional 5 minutes added to her time.  If she is having a particularly difficult day, she can earn up to an hour of early bedtime.  Anything beyond that moves into the next day.

Additionally, if Rapunzel feels like taking her good old time at bedtime, whatever the amount of minutes she goes over her time gets moved to the next day.

If her “crime” is especially terrible, she is given a spanking.

This weekend, Rapunzel was grounded, using up strikes 1, 2, 3, and 4, so we were left with only 5 each day.  She was a little frustrated the first day, as she had to go to bed 45 minutes early and missed story time.  Tuesday was slightly better; she only had to go to bed 40 minutes early.  Yesterday, she was assigned 25 minutes.  Today, she is starting with 10 but she has yet to accumulate any additional minutes.  We’ll see how the rest of the evening goes.

Obviously punishments for children always need to be evaluated for the “crime” committed and for the child, as all children are differently.  But if your child is anything like mine, I hope this works for you!

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