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  • Post published:Apr 30, 2021
  • Post last modified:Feb 29, 2024

School aged kids discipline-strategies and challenges

Children’s minds are like soft clay,

They are tomorrow’s achievers 

Just shape them in a good way

A child, when puts his first step to a school, gets his very first exposure to the outside world. Coming out from a comfort zone provided by her family, she meets new people, spends a significant amount of time at a different place and follows a completely new routine.

This transition gradually inculcates in a child divergent behavior patterns, some of which can help her to rise and flourish while others may be harmful and hinder her mental and social growth.

Therefore, it is imperative to understand the problems related to a child’s behavior and address them prudently in such a manner that the remedies taught her the valuable life lessons without leaving any negative impact on the tender mind.  

Understanding School Age Kids Behavior

No longer a “little kid” and not yet able to keep up with the “big kids,” school-age kids show a significant level of curiosity and like to be independent, however, would need guidance and pre-defined boundaries as they grow and explore.

They display prolonged concentration and remarkable energy levels as they readily characterize multitasking and hop between activities giving an apt amount of focus on each.

They have better cognitive and physical skills, and their fast learning capability helps them to grasp and adopt new artistes in addition to performing regular tasks in a better manner each day.

However, besides these positive developments, the exposure to the outside world also results in the emergence of some difficult behavioral and discipline issues which should be addressed and dealt with at the right time and most importantly, in a right way.

Discipline is really important for student life and a school-age child may sometimes become anxious and emotionally vulnerable, which might also lead to the development of some prolonged fears. These issues can happen due to multiple reasons like unpleasant interaction with strangers, bullying by other kids, the feeling of unhealthy competition, over-pampering or serious bashing. 

A child in the age interval of 6-12 yrs most likely would want to test boundaries and attempt to make independent decisions. They may not take rules or checks imposed on them in a healthy manner and as a result, backtalk or exhibit defiance.

She also tends to develop the habit of lying which she finds as an easy way of presenting herself in a favorable light and bragging about something which actually might not have even happened or saving herself from getting into any trouble or scolding. 

Lying can become a bad habit, and the intensity increases with age if left unaddressed.

A school-age kid also intentionally dawdles for tasks which she finds not to her interests. Whether your child takes 10 minutes to wear her socks or become the world’s slowest eater, this behavior may bring you into the state of confusion or frustration. However, your patience and easy talking with your child on this can be helpful.

A school-age kid would also seek for your attention and preference for her over any other person or thing in this world, in the act of which, fighting with her siblings, throwing temper tantrums and even whining and exhibiting occasional meltdown become common habits.

With that being said, addressing child behavior issues has its preliminary and most important step of understanding the cause of her behavior. Which strategy to follow to remedy the problems depends on the reason why a child is exhibiting such conduct.

You may sometimes need to dig in deep to a child’s mind or analyse her interactions and surroundings to find the root cause of some of her specific behaviors.

Strategies to address and remedy the child’s behavior problems

A good discipline strategy includes positive enforcement of good behavior as well as negative consequences for bad conduct.

Praise Good Behavior

Provide genuine praise or privilege to your child’s effort in order to encourage her and augment her confidence.

A healthy praising motivates her to keep trying hard and do her best. For example, instead of praising for her results every time, appreciate her efforts as well, like “Good job for making such an effort and studying hard” is better than saying “Great job for scoring full marks”.

Remember, there’s a fine line between good praising and over pampering.

While the former can fine-tune a child’s growth, the later can do an equal or more harm to her mental ability.

Follow ‘Grandma’s Rule of Discipline’

A change in the way you phrase your words can subtly change the consequences into rewards which would encourage a child to abide by the rules.

Like instead of saying “You can not go to play until you clean your room”, try saying “You can go to play as soon as you clean your room” and see the difference in your child’s conduct.

Provide Logical Consequences

In case your child repeatedly refuses to follow and makes a direct offense like not getting off the video game even after multiple checks, take away the video game from her for like 24 hrs so that she is aware of the consequences going forward and would then understand the necessity to follow what you say.

Avoid Too Many Instructions

This strategy is important for school kids, especially those who fall in the age interval of 10-14 yrs. For mild tasks where you think they can take their call, avoid instructing them or enforcing stringent rules. In this way, they would feel that you believe in them and have confidence in them which would gradually lead to the betterment of bond you share with your kid. 

Allow Natural Consequences

Let your child face the consequences when it is safe to do so. This would help him to remember and learn in lieu of bearing the consequences.  Like if she forgets to keep her snacks for the school when you tell her to do so, the natural consequence for that day of not getting snacks during school time would make her remember to keep them going forward.

Effective Communication

This is the most important strategy to fine-tune your child’s behavior, develop an emotional connection with your child, build a trust level between you and your child and hence help to solve the issues related to her conduct.

  • Problem- Solve together- When your child exhibits some specific or repeated behavior problems, sit down with her and discuss the resolution. Ask questions like, “This is the third time you did not finish your lesson, what would help you to complete it ?”
  • Explain Your Rules- Provide a simple explanation for the reason behind your rules. Discuss about how these rules would ensure their health, safety, social or moral growth and help them to understand that your idea behind enforcement is not making their life miserable but wanting the best for them.
  • Encourage your child to express herself- Encourage your child to express and discuss about her emotional turmoil and comfort her that it is normal to have such feelings and together you both will find the best solution to her problems.

This article is contributed by Ecole Globale International School.

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