our everyday life

Consequences of Misbehavior for Elementary Students

by Kristine Tucker

Teachers are often forced to address behavioral issues that negatively affect their elementary classroom environment. Consequences for misbehavior often involve recess detentions, after-school detentions, busy work and visits to the principal's office. As a parent, you may choose to enforce your own consequences at home for your child's inappropriate or disruptive classroom behavior. Since elementary students aren't old enough to drive, you can't take away the car keys, but you can restrict free-time activities.

Grounding

Grounding your child from out-of-the-house activities for one to three days is a reasonable consequence for misbehavior. Grounding him from riding bikes, playing with neighbors, participating in intramural sports or going out with you to the mall, movie theater or favorite restaurant shows that you take the misconduct seriously. Offering alternative, educational activities can make grounding a more profitable experience. For example, if he got in trouble for cheating on a spelling test, you might ask him to write the words on his new spelling list 10 times each.

Written or Verbal Apology

Asking your child to write or rehearse a verbal apology is a consequence for misbehavior that also teaches taking responsibility for actions. If your child is in kindergarten or first grade, she might not have the skills to write an apology, so a verbal one will do. The apology doesn't need to be lengthy or dramatic, but it must convey sincere regret for misconduct. Teachers can also use written and verbal apologies as classroom consequences.

Loss of Privileges

Taking away some of your child's privileges teaches him that his poor choices have consequences. You might reduce his TV time, unplug his video games, disallow desserts or set an earlier bed time. Taking away privileges reinforces the teacher's disciplinary actions and shows that you won't tolerate the behavior either. A loss of privileges is similar to grounding, so a reasonable one-to-three-day time frame is enough for elementary-age children.

Physical Labor

Physical labor is a constructive consequence for misbehavior, as long the work load is reasonable, safe and age-appropriate. Issuing chores that aren't part of your child's regular household responsibilities will help her associate the labor punishment with her actions. When possible, punishments should fit the crime, so think of ways you can relate the consequences to the original offense. For example, if your child got in trouble for disorderly conduct in the lunchroom, you might ask her to clean the inside of the refrigerator or mop the kitchen floors.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images