I started using “creative consequences” for my kids about six months ago, and was shocked at what a difference it made in whether or not they actually listen to me. It gets their attention much faster than the typical lines they’ve heard a thousand times. Some of them may seem kind of silly, but that’s why kids love them, and why they work. After reading mine, please let me know what type of creative consequences you use. Here are some of the consequences that I started enforcing:
1) Use a “You Rock” jar. When your child does something great that’s completely out of the blue, let him pick from the “You Rock” jar. In this jar, you keep some pieces of paper, and a reward on each one. Ideas for rewards can be picking the movie for family movie night, choosing dinner for the night, reading an extra book at bedtime, or watching an extra ten minutes of TV.
2) Do something silly. Where the “You Rock” jar works well for acknowledging big behaviors, this works well for small behaviors. We started doing “honesty high fives”, where every time our kids are honest about something , they get an “honesty high five.” Also, when one of the kids eats all of their veggies at dinner, we do a “veggie run” which is like the goal that soccer players do after scoring a goal. We run around the table once and yell “veggie run!”.
3) Use songs. Songs about daughters growing up. We started using certain songs, or changing the words to popular songs when our kids aren’t listening. For instance, when our kids don’t want to take a bath, we sing “We Like to Take Baths” to the tune of “We Like to Party” by the Venga Boys. Or, when we’re trying to talk and the kids aren’t listening, we use a song from our children’s preschool. It’s to the tune of “Frere Jacque” and the words are, “Eyes are watching, ears are listening, voices quiet, bodies calm. This is how we listen, this is how we listen, when others talk, when others talk.”
4) Create “get-along” shirts or pants to use when they’re fighting. I got this idea from one of my friends – when she was younger and she would fight with her brother, her parents made them each get in one side of a pair of “get-along pants” and sing “We Can Work it Out”. She said that it worked because they would then join forces by both being mad at their parents instead. Now she is one of the kindest and most hilarious people I know, so that’s good enough for me. These are the shorts that I use for “get-along” pants. I wrote “We <3 Each Other” on them
5. Let the punishment fit the crime. If your child throws something, have her go outside and throw things for ten minutes. If your child leaves toys out after he’s supposed to have picked them up, put them in a hidden bin, and have him either earn them back or look for them.
Do you use any creative consequences? Do they work for you?