On Becoming Preschoolwise has a list of different tools of correction for your little preschooler, including logical consequences.
Some parents do not have minds that naturally flow into the logical, realm, which is fine. But for those parents, thinking of a logical consequence in a moment can be difficult.
Even for parents who are logical by nature, thinking of a good logical consequence can be tricky at the exact moment. Ezzo and Bucknam have an easy, one-step process to help you think of something:
What is it your child misused?
Once you identify what was misused, you can make the consequence flow from that.
Let's look at some concerns you readers have had and give a short, simple logical consequence for it.
Child tells you no when given a direction.
Child mis-used a verbal freedom. You could remove verbal freedoms for a period. You can also remove the freedom to choose. So if you asked your child to come to you, she said no, you go pick her up.
You can also remove something related to the direction you gave. You told your child to clean up the toys and she said no? She might lose those toys for a certain period of time.
Child Throws Toys
Child mis-used the toy. I would take they toy away.
Child Touches Things She Shouldn't
The child mis-used her physical freedoms and is ignoring you. A good logical consequence would say, "That is too bad that you touched the stove after I told you not to! I guess you will have to sit in your high chair since you can't control yourself."
Child Gets Out of Bed When She Shouldn't
Child is mis-using her freedom to choose when to get out. This is harder than simply taking away that freedom because that doesn't mean the child won't stay put. You might need to remove another freedom associated with the bedroom or add time to how long the child should be in bed. You can also take away a privilege that happens after bed (like TV).
Child Hits (Playfully or Meanly)
Child is mis-using her hands. If she won't control her hands, you need to remove her from being able to contact others with her hands. If you are with friends, you might leave immediately. If you are at home, you might remove her from other family members. You want to remove the child from her victims.
Child Doesn't Stay By Me In Store
Child is mis-using the freedom to move on her own. If you have a cart available, I would put her in the cart. An obvious potential problem with this is the fit that would follow. If that happened, the next step would be to leave the store (NOT to put her on the floor again and allow her to walk).
But this leads to me needing to point out that you don't want to allow the freedom of walking before the child is old enough to handle it. If you do, you need to be fully prepare to walk out of that store without purchasing anything if needed.
Child Rips Pages In Books
Child is mis-using books, so the natural lead would be no books. I would hate that to be a consequence as a parent, so I would say the child is only able to look at books that have no pages to rip (board books and soft books) unless Mom or Dad is holding the book for her.
Kaitlyn once took a library book to bed and pulled the library stickers off. She is currently not allowed to take library books to her room anymore.
Child Refuses To Eat
In most cases, I wouldn't actually view this as bad behavior. I prefer to follow a child's lead on food and not make things a battle. I have my children try something once, but if they don't like it, that is fine. They need to try it each time we have it. If we have it often, I have them try it every couple of months.
For example, Brayden hates corn. He loves most vegetables, so this isn't a general defiance thing. He just doesn't like corn. That is totally fine. We all have things we don't like. Every few months, I have him take a bite because our taste buds are always changing and he might decide he likes it someday. But once he says he doesn't like it, that is all he needs to eat.
I hope that helps get your logical consequence mind flowing. When your child does something wrong, remember the question "what did my child mis-use?" Then go from there.
Logical consequences are extremely effective. I use logical consequences more than any other discipline method by far.
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