Effective Discipline Techniques for 6-Year-Old Children

Behavior Management Strategies for First Graders

Time-out can be an effective discipline strategy for 6-year-olds.
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Most 6-year-olds make incredible gains in terms of their behavior. But, this age may feel like a wild ride for your as your child years for more independence than he can likely handle.

It's a great time to teach new skills and reinforce previous skills your child has already learned. With practice and ongoing guidance, your child can learn the skills he needs to manage his behavior effectively.

Typical 6-Year-Old Behavior

Most 6-year-olds show major improvements in their attention spans.

That means they should be getting better at completing tasks, like cleaning their rooms or putting away their clothes.

They also appreciate taking on new responsibilities, but often seek reassurance that they are doing things correctly. They usually relish showing off new talents too. And many of them gain confidence in their skills.

They tend to enjoy sharing with peers; however, they are prone to conflict with other children as they don’t yet have the social skills to resolve a lot of peer-related issues. They should be gaining an increased ability to recognize their emotions and they should be able to show empathy for others.

They often tend to look to adults they trust to learn how to react during challenging situations. They can be highly emotional as they shift from happy and loving to angry and defiant.

Although they should be showing improved self-discipline skills, they usually like to test the limits.

When told to do something, they might refuse just to see how you're going to react. Whining, complaining, and temper tantrums are still fairly normal at this age.

Best Discipline Strategies

The best way to deal with behavior problems is to prevent them. Teach your child to deal with uncomfortable emotions in socially appropriate ways.

Boredom, anger, and sadness are often the root cause of misbehavior.

When behavior problems arise, use consistent discipline strategies to help your child learn from his mistakes. Here are the most effective ways to address behavior problems in 6-year-olds:

  • Provide Routine and Structure – Most 6-year-olds thrive in well-structured environments. Provide a consistent routine and a lot of structure to your child’s day in regards to homework, chores and morning and bedtime routines. Establish clear household rules to help your child understand your expectations.
  • Ignore Mild Misbehavior – Ignoring is an effective behavior modification technique that can reduce attention-seeking behaviors such as whining, complaining or mild temper tantrums.
  • Praise – Praise positive behavior, such as compliance, playing quietly, and sharing. Catching your child being good will boost his confidence and ensure him that you notice his attempts to follow the rules.
  • Time-Out – Time-out teaches your child how to calm himself down. You can also refer to it as “quiet time” or a cooling off period so he’ll be more likely to use time out on his own when he’s feeling upset.
  • Rewards – Most 6-year-olds are interested in earning rewards. Create a reward system to address specific behavior problems or consider a token economy system to encourage good behavior.
  • Logical Consequences – Logical consequences are a great way to help your child learn from his mistakes. By this age, kids understand the direct link between their behavior and the consequence.
  • Natural Consequences – Since a lot of 6-year-olds want to be able to make some decisions on their own, allowing them to face natural consequences can be a great learning experience, as long as it is safe to do so.

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