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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By the time children turn 8, they’re usually fairly independent. Hopefully the skills you’ve taught them through during their earlier years have really taken hold and they’re practicing them regularly.

But most 8 year olds still need a fair amount of fine tuning. Although they want to do everything on their own, they usually lack the skills necessary to be treated like a big kid.

Discipline at this age is more important than ever.

You only have a few more years to equip your child with the skills she'll need as a teenager.

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 begin 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 still really 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 8 year olds manage their behavior.

  • Positive Attention – Provide your child with plenty of positive attention to prevent attention seeking behaviors. Set aside time each day to give your child individualized attention to prevent behavior problems before they start.
  • Praise – Provide your child with lots of encouragement and praise to increase your child’s good behavior. Praise your child’s efforts, even when those efforts aren't necessarily successful.
  • 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.
  • 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 when they’re removed. Take away electronics, time with friends, or a favorite toy for a short period of time.

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