My discipline plan

As promised, here is my discipline plan. You’ll notice that it’s fairly simple and straightforward which is what you want. You don’t want a discipline plan that’s so complicated it’s hard to be consistent.

Discipline plan goals

As discussed in my last post about creating a discipline plan, here are my goals with my discipline plan:

  • Start with my kids’ worst and most chronic behaviors
  • Choose discipline methods that teach a lesson and that aren’t hard for me to follow through with
  • Be specific in describing the behavior and the discipline method
  • Post it in an accessible place (my kitchen)
  • Make it a living document. I have a huge white board in my kitchen and I can very easily revise the discipline plan as needed.

My discipline plan

Here’s how it is written on my white board:

William (age 5)

  • Misbehavior: Intentionally hurt your brother.
  • Discipline: Immediate timeout for at least 10 minutes, followed by apologies to Lucas and mommy.
  • Misbehavior: Snatch toys from your brother.
  • Discipline: I take the toy (and all others like it) away for at least 24 hours.
  • Misbehavior: Slow in cleaning up after roomtime
  • Discipline: I take those toys away until he can show me better obedience. All of his Legos are currently sitting on my dresser and will probably stay there for a few days.

Lucas (age 2)

  • Misbehavior: Throw food or silverware from highchair.
  • Discipline: Immediate timeout, followed by clean up and apologies to mommy.
  • Misbehavior: Whining and fussing.
  • Discipline: Verbal reminder to be happy while withholding whatever he wants.

Notes for mom and dad

At the bottom of my discipline plan, I include reminder notes for my husband and myself. These notes address our weaknesses and help us remember how to fairly and effectively discipline our kids.

Mommy: Follow through the first time!

Daddy: Stop repeating and call their names first!

Is this it?

You may wonder if this is the extent of the discipline that goes on in our home. Certainly not! There are several other misbehaviors and discipline methods that go on in our home, but these misbehaviors are not chronic enough that I need to include them in my discipline plan. If they go on for any length of time, I will add them to our plan. But remember, one of your primary goals in creating a discipline plan is focusing on just two or three misbehaviors so you can effectively and consistently address them. Keep it simple!

Take the time to create your discipline plan and see how it can help keep you focused.



Filed under discipline

17 responses to “My discipline plan

  1. I have my kids add a “restorative” aspect to the apologies if there is harm done to the other. This can be the form of serving the hurt child in some way (for example: serving them a snack, picking up their room or toys, play a game – allowing him or her to make all the rules/choices). This really seems to add another layer to the consequence that sticks in their minds.

  2. Lynn

    I don’t see chastisement in your plan…I know the Ezzos advocate for this for FTO offenses and other offenses as well.

    Laura, I know she has blogged before about RFR and practices it…that is the last “R” in the RFR process.

  3. Maureen

    Yes, restoration is definitely an important aspect of discipline. I like the idea of serving the hurt child. I’ll have to incorporate that into my parenting.

  4. Maureen

    Hi Lynn,

    I have mentioned restoration before, but haven’t done a post on it yet. I plan to soon though!

    As for chastisement (hate the euphemism, by the way), this is probably one area where the Ezzos and I part ways. Here’s my official position on it. We have used it in the past, but I honestly feel that if I’m doing my job as a parent, I shouldn’t need to spank. I feel that too many parents spank first before considering other methods or doing everything they should be doing in terms of following through, saying what they mean, being patient, teaching their children, speaking their love language, not exasperating, providing a way of escape, etc. And it’s just too easy to spank the “wrong” way, in anger or without teaching a lesson. Because of this, I can’t recommend it in good conscience.

    Besides, I simply don’t need to spank my children. Lucas is very obedient because of all the work I have put in, starting at birth! And although I “started late” with William, taking away toys and sending him to his room are very effective. When I have spanked in the past, not only did I feel horrible, but it just didn’t have the effect I was looking for. No matter how obedient I want my children to be, I don’t want them to fear me. I’d rather they obey because we have a good relationship and they want to please me.

    So that’s my stance on it. Take it for what it’s worth.

  5. Thanks for including the apology, even from a 2 year old. I’ve been told that I make my kids apologize when they don’t fully understand what an apology is.
    They have learned that apologies help to repair the injury on the relationship caused by your behavior.
    I also frequently tell my older son (5) that if you hurt your brother, you hurt me. If you try to make him whine or cry, you are actually hurting me on the inside as well as my ears.
    I like the way you folded yourself into those parts.
    The white board idea (living document) is a great fit. It shows that you can be flexible, as you ask them to change a bit, too.
    Nice work.

  6. Kristin

    Help! So, I’m working with my 3-year-old and first-time obedience. I’m trying to write out a discipline plan, but the chronic misbehavior is that he doesn’t obey. So, I’m trying to break it down to the behavior to determine the best discipline method. Right now I wrote down climbing on the coffee table. I asked my husband what the discipline should be and he said, “just tell him to get down.” But that’s not working because we do it and eventually he does it again. Do I discipline the table climbing or disobedience for not getting off? And what would be a natural/logical consequence for that? I can’t think of anything other than isolation. What would you recommend?

  7. Maureen

    First-time obedience is definitely your goal, but for your discipline plan you want to be more detailed. The coffee table thing is a perfect example. And as for what you are disciplining for with the coffee table, the misbehavior is him getting on there in the first place, not not getting down when you tell him to. If you have told him he is to not get up there (which I’m sure you have), then the disobedience is him getting up there. (There’s passive disobedience–not doing something you ask to do–and active disobedience–doing something they shouldn’t. You have active disobedience going on here.) For the first 2-3 times he did this, I would tell him it’s a no and take him off the table myself. If he continues to do it (which it sounds like he is) then you do need to discipline. A natural consequence would be him falling off the table and hurting himself. The only logical consequence I can think of is that he’s not able to be in the same room as the coffee table, but that can be a bear to manage. So I probably would isolate him. And at this age, you have to do it quickly and consistently. If your husband thinks it’s too much, tell him that you won’t need to do it for long. It’s like using cry-it-out with a baby. It’s hard at first, but it doesn’t take long before you’re done. Then you can add your next misbehavior to your discipline plan. 😉

  8. Jennifer

    In your discipline plan, you have:
    ■Misbehavior: Snatch toys from your brother.
    ■Discipline: I take the toy (and all others like it) away for at least 24 hours

    Do you take the toy away from the innocent sibling? Would that be punishing the younger child (witholding his toy) for something his older brother did (snatching the toy away)?

    This is definitely a chronic behavior in our house (I have a 3 year old and 15 month old), so I want to make sure I discipline correctly.

    Also, what is your discipline recommendation for talking back? We are new to this and my 3 year old is pretty set in his ways. LOL We are doing, “yes mom” and “you don’t have the right to talk back to me. the response I want is yes mom”, but he still argues back.

    Looking forward to your response!

  9. Maureen

    Hi Jennifer. Sorry for the late reply. I usually get notifications in email, but don’t recall getting one for your comment. Anyway, I have a couple thoughts. It doesn’t seem right to take the toy away from the innocent sibling. Typically, I take the toy away from the child who snatched the toy yet still allow the younger child to have the toy. The only problem with this is that it teaches the younger child that he benefits from getting his brother in trouble. After a couple years of this, I now see in my little one that he is quick to whine or complain when playing with his brother and he doesn’t share very well. We have taught him that he has the right to a toy when he wants it. I recently read in Shepherding a Child’s Heart (by Ted Tripp) that to take a toy from one child and give it to another (no matter how innocent the child may be) is teaching that child that it’s right to consider his own needs first and foremost. When children fight over toys it’s because they are thinking of themselves and not their sibling. All this to say you need to manage it carefully. Perhaps if your 15-month-old doesn’t cry or fuss you can give it to him. If he complains in any way, then tell them the toy is having a timeout.

    As for talking back, I would just continually remind him about what you expect his response to be. The “yes mom” thing just needs to become habit. When he responds in any other way, remind him of what you expect. When he speaks disrespectfully, tell him in your stern mommy voice that he is not to speak to you that way. Make him repeat whatever it is he was trying to say. If he is asking for something, deny it until he shows he can speak respectfully. Also, if you have a decent level of first-time obedience, you can take away his right to speak. Tell him he is not to speak to you until the timer goes off (set it for 5-10 minutes). Explain clearly that if he disobeys and speaks then he will have a timeout.

    Hope that helps!

  10. Ashley

    I have a 3 yr. old who has typically been very obedient, but lately is not. I feel like I’m starting all over with FTO. Where would you recommend that I start with her at this age? With specific behaviors only? Or with the actual isue of FTO?
    Also, one specific behavior we are having trouble with is disrespectful noises. She will make very obnoxious noises as we leave her room at bedtime (we usually close the door if she does), at the dinner table (she has to leave the table), while I’m on the phone or talking to someone at church, etc…(?). I feel like we’ve been addressing this issue for a long time and haven’t seen much progress. She seems to be continually interrupting me (rudely) if I try to talk to anyone but her… especially Daddy. What kind of consequence would you recommend? Or how should I discuss this with her?

  11. Ashley

    One more ? 🙂
    I have been telling her that she needs to say “Okay Mommy” when I ask her to do something, or to stop doing something. In the past she has been very good about this, but not as much anymore. What should I do after I have given her a reminder and she continues to ignore me? Time out?

  12. Maureen

    Hi Ashley. It’s not uncommon to have to pull in the reins with FTO when our kids start to slack off. You may even look back to see that it started with you. There is a natural ebb and flow to parenting. I have a post on the idea.

    The good news is that if you had decent FTO before, then it won’t take very long for her to get back to where she was. So you do need to go back to the beginning but it’s not like you’re starting over.

    As for the noises, I can relate. But in our case it’s related to my son’s auditory processing issues. The noises are maddening but I know he can’t always control it. For him its always worse when he is tired. If it’s at it’s worst at bedtime you might consider putting her down slightly earlier. And maybe do an earlier dinner time.

    As for interrupting you, the Ezzos have the interrupt rule. Basically, yo want to teach her to put her hand on your leg and wait. You quietly acknowledge her by squeezing her hand so she knows you will reply when you can. Practice this in stages. First at home with your husband the at a close friend’s house and then on the phone.

  13. Maureen

    Is she still giving you the action but just not saying “okay mommy? If that’s the case then a verbal reminder should do. If she flat out ignores you after an instruction has been given, then yes, I would do a timeout. If she ignores you after you have given your instruction (with eye contact) then she is not giving you first-time obedience.

  14. Ashley

    When training her to do the hand on the leg thing, would I give a consequence for non-compliance or just praise at first?
    I would imagine that in her current stage it might be a bit of a battle to get her to do this and I want to be prepared for when she doesn’t cooperate.

  15. Maureen

    Keep it all positive. This is a new skill you are teaching her, so you don’t want to make it a contentious issue. You want this to be something she wants to do. I would just do verbal reminders and praise with LOTS of practice. If you need to up the ante a bit, you might give her marbles or stickers or some other positive reinforcement when she does it.

  16. SM

    My 3 year old son is having a difficult time taking naps. I know that he still needs them because when he does fall asleep he will sleep anywhere from 1-3 hours. He also becomes very cranky and wild at the end of a day when he has not napped. When I put him to bed for his naps he becomes very defiant and rebellious. I usually will lay with him until he falls asleep, but this is becoming more and more frustrating. He will start singing, shouting, hitting and pinching me and do just about anything to show me he doesn’t want to obey me. If I leave the room he will not stay in bed.

    For the most part he is usually a very tender and sweet child, but nap time has become a battle zone.

    Thank you for any help!!

    My two questions are: 1. What should I do on days when he just isn’t going to nap? I don’t want him to get into the habit of not taking a nap at all when he really does need one.

    and 2. I feel clueless on how to discipline him when it is time to go down. I can’t put him on a break (timeout) since I want him to stay in bed and fall asleep, and taking beloved toys away hasn’t helped at all.

  17. Maureen

    Hi Stephanie. I went through this a bit with my older son, before I started following Childwise. It sounds like he still needs the nap, so I would do what you can to preserve it. First order of business, stop laying down with him. This goes back to Babywise 101. They need to fall asleep on their own. At this age, it just creates a power struggle. You can’t MAKE him sleep, and he knows that. Give him hugs and kisses, read a book maybe, and leave.

    His getting out of bed is a separate issue. There are a couple things you can try here. Always try the positive/encouragement route first. 1) Put a clear jar of candy in plain sight (but out of reach) and tell him he will get one if he stays in bed. We are doing this with my 3yo. You could try a sticker/reward chart, but for us it’s not an immediate enough reward. He barely remembers the candy. 2) Get the “Okay to Wake Owl.” We just started using this and it’s genius. Our issue is early mornings, so I set it to turn green at 7:30am and he gets a candy if he stays in bed “until the owl is green.” It has a nap setting and if you/he pushes the owl’s tummy, it will light up orange, play a little music and say “It’s not time to get up yet. Go back to sleep now.” If it’s within 15 minutes of wake time, it will say “Just a little bit longer.” 3) Another option is to put a baby gate up in his doorway. Make sure there aren’t any toys in his room. If he’s tired enough, he’ll fall asleep on the floor and will soon learn that it’s not as comfortable as his bed. 4) This is possibly most important, work on his first-time obedience during the day. The more obedient he is in general, the easier the nap issues will be on all of you. Do a search on first-time obedience to learn more.

    To answer your specific questions: 1) I made the mistake of not keeping “rest time” after we dropped the nap. After it becomes clear that he doesn’t always need to sleep (maybe 6 months from now), you can tell him that he doesn’t have to sleep, but he does need to rest. Maybe allow him to read books. 2) I wouldn’t necessarily discipline him over this. It just creates too much of a power struggle. Try the tips I mentioned above.

    Good luck!

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