Imagine that your child spends the day playing ball at home. As much as you scold him and tell him not to do it, that he is going to break something, he goes on and on ... until of course, he breaks something. What do you do at that moment? A) You uncover the anger box and you explode in screams B) You get angry and tell him that he is punished without leaving C) You explain that you already warned him and that he will have to pay with his savings for what he just broke.
If you are one of those who bet on educational consequences, your correct option would be C. He broke it, he repairs it. However, this is not so easy. It all depends, obviously, on the age of the child. Not all consequences work for everyone equally. What good would they be in this case if the child is only 2 years old? We explain how to use the educational consequences according to the child's age using this practical table.
We will start by clarifying what the educational consequences are and what they intend. First of all, they are not punishments (although they sometimes seem like it). It is about the child being aware of his actions and, as far as possible, trying to make up for a wrongdoing. In this way the child realizes that he must take responsibility for his actions. Every act gets a reaction. Action = reaction. When the action is bad, the consequences are too.
The educational consequences bet that the child tries to repair as much as possible what he did wrong. But it also depends on the age of the child. Younger children would not understand certain educational consequences. Therefore, the educational consequences must be adapted to the age of our child in this way:
- From 3 years: Time out. The child is still too young to understand that he must make up for a mistake. Nor does he have any money saved to pay for something he broke. But he can reflect (with the help of his parents) on what he did wrong. If your child hit another child, you should remove him from the place where he is, and aside, let him think about what he did for a few minutes. The reflection time also depends on the age of the child. Experts recommend one minute per year. If your child is 5 years old, it will be 5 minutes. It is important that you do not leave him alone, or he will not think about it, but will dedicate himself to doing something else.
- From 4 years old: Loss of privileges. From the age of 4 your child begins to be aware of what is wrong and what is right, but constantly tries to 'skip' those rules or seek the limit. If you are unable to meet a rule, you will lose a number of privileges. If, for example, your child ignores you and does not want to put on the helmet when he goes out with the skates, he will not be able to use the skates anymore, until he finally puts on the helmet. No helmet = No skates.
- From 6 years: Repair the error. Or also the damage caused. The child begins to be aware of this law: Every action has a reaction. If you make a mistake and it involves damage, you will have to repair it. If you break something, you will have to pay with your money for what you broke, or find a way to repair it. If you hit a child, you will need to apologize and commit to not do it anymore.
- For all ages: Natural consequences. For example, if she can't get her dirty clothes to the laundry basket and you asked her many times, she won't be able to wear that shirt she loves so much because you couldn't wash it.
- The educational consequences must be agreed. You can talk to your child and make it clear that if he hurts a friend, he should apologize. If you break something, you will have to pay for it and replace it ... In this way, when it happens, you will be able to remember it and the child will accept it much better.
- They should never be more severe than what the child did. In this way, the child would see it as a 'penalty', a punishment.
- They must be consistent and we must always be sure that he did it. There is nothing worse for a child than to feel that they are accused of something they did not commit, and to feel that their parents do not believe them. He will see it as a terrible injustice and little by little he will stop believing in others. He will become a suspicious child who is always on the defensive, something that can even drag into his adult life if this happens frequently.
- They must be accompanied by an explanation. The educational consequences themselves teach children nothing more than 'if you do it, you pay for it'. The objective is that they also learn certain values and norms. To do this, you must accompany the educational consequences with an explanation or certain activities that help the child to develop certain values such as respect, tolerance, empathy ...
- They should never be in public. Educational consequences must be applied in private. In public, it could be a humiliation for a child.
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