Effective Discipline Techniques for 8-Year-Old Children

Behavior Management Strategies for Kids in Third Grade

These discipline skills can be most effective for 8-year-old kids.
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Most 8-year-olds have developed a fair amount of independence. By now, the skills you’ve taught your child have started to take hold and hopefully, your child is practicing those strategies regularly. 

But, despite being competent in several areas, most 8-year-olds require a fair amount of fine tuning in the behavior and social skills departments. Discipline should be focused on ensuring your child has the skills she needs long before she enters the teen years.

Typical 8-Year-Old Behavior

Development of an 8-year-old can vary greatly based on the child’s temperament. While some 8-year-olds flourish in school, others just aren't motivated to do their work independently. A child’s academic success or struggle can certainly impact her behavior.

Physical abilities also can become very apparent at this age. Many 8-year-olds start to recognize talents in certain sports and some of them may really begin to stand out from the crowd. Kids who are less interested in sports may develop interests in music, art or other hobbies.

Despite their desire to be independent, most 8-year-olds depend on adults for reassurance and security. They need their parents to set limits and show them that they aren't yet ready to handle unlimited privileges.

It’s normal for 8-year-olds to be argumentative and to test the limits at times. They can be moody and may struggle to manage their frustration and anger when they don’t get what they want.

They can show off sometimes and frequently crave attention from caregivers.

Best Discipline Strategies for 8-Year-Olds

A combination of these discipline strategies can be very effective in helping your 8-year-old manage his behavior, follow the rules, and interact with others appropriately:

  • Positive Attention – Provide your child with plenty of positive attention to prevent attention seeking behavior. Set aside time each day to give your child individualized attention to prevent behavior problems before they start.
  • Praise – Catch your child being good and provide specific, labelled praise. Rather than praising him for a job well done, make sure to praise him for trying hard or for trying again after he failed once.
  • Reward Systems – Create a reward system that will give your child an opportunity to earn privileges.
  • Chore charts – Assign your child responsibilities and use a chart to remind him to do his chores every day. Let him practice being independent by checking off his responsibilities on his own.
  • Grandma’s Rule – Grandma’s rule of discipline can go a long way to turning around a behavior problem. Use it to avoid power struggles and to help your child accept responsibility for his behavior.
  • Behavior Management Contracts – Most 8-year-olds want more freedom. Create a behavior management contract that clearly outlines what your child will need to do to earn a later bedtime or more privileges.
  • Time-Out – They’re not too old for time-out at this age, but it should be used sparingly. It can be a great way to teach your child how to calm down when he's angry.
  • Take Away Privileges – Since most kids have developed a lot of interests by this age, it can quickly become clear which privileges are most effective. Take away electronics, time with friends, or a favorite toy for a short period of time.

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