7 Non-Traditional Punishments for Very Typical Kids
My kids are really pretty good, despite all the times I throw them under the bus in this blog.
However, they do the normal annoying kids things like not listening, whining, not eating, and using the house and furniture as jungle gym equipment. When they do, my husband and I have come up with an arsenal of consequences for their actions. (We wouldn’t want to call them punishments and squash their little spirits, now would we?)
- I Will Listen To My Fathers – Punishment for not listening. The guilty party stands at the bottom of the basement stairs and shouts “ZERO!” Then s/he runs up the stairs to the main level of the house, rounds the corner, runs up the second staircase to the top floor, looks in the mirror at the top of the stairs and shouts, “I WILL LISTEN TO MY FATHER!” (or Mother, but Daddy invented this one, so he gets the naming rights.) Then run back down both sets of stairs to the starting point and shout, “ONE!” Repeat as many times as assigned. We’ve done this frequently enough in our house that we can now say, “Give me 4 ‘I Will Listen To My Fathers’ right now,” and they start running.
Laps Around the House – Punishment for acting like zoo animals. When they’re climbing the furniture and the walls and have been repeatedly told to calm down, they get laps. Does not matter the weather or time of day. That’s what jackets and head lamps are for. We send them out the front door (usually in pairs since they feed off each other’s energy) and they must run as many laps around the house as we choose. Sometimes we’ll give them a choice of timeout or laps. They almost always choose laps. They come in tired and usually calmer.
- Pay Our Tolls – Punishment for leaving lights on in their bedroom. When we find a light left on, we ask, “Who was the last one in your room?” The guilty party pays a quarter to the family coin jar. We’re one of the few EZ-Pass holdouts, so we raid the coin jar and breeze through the exact change lane thanks to our lazy kids. This may soon expand to the rest of the house, thanks to our latest JCP&L bill.
- Eat Your Cold Dinner – Natural consequence of being a picky eater. I cook one option for dinner every night that includes a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. If they eat it all (or even the minimum requirement of each item), they get a small treat for dessert. If they don’t, they can get down from the table, but with no other food for the rest of the night. I leave their plate on the table until they go to bed. If they come to me hungry later in the evening, they can eat what they snubbed at dinnertime. No excuses, no exceptions.
- Thunderfoot Re-Do – Consequence of noisily pounding down the stairs. All three of my kids are on the small side. They’re lanky and lightweight. But they sound like a herd of elephants when they come thundering down the stairs. When it sounds like our house is about to fall apart from the way they hammer their heels on the stairs, we send them back up or back down and make them redo it “ninja style.” They do it as many times as it takes for the glasses in the wine rack to not rattle.
- Plead Your Case Without Whining – We only listen if you don’t whine. The kids play together, which means they heinously wrong each other in countless ways. When a victim comes to us whining and crying to tattle on his or her brother or sister, we send them back out of the room. They get another chance to come in again, calmly, to tell us in a big kid voice exactly what happened, without breaking down into tears or whining again. It scares me to see how good our middle child is at this. We either have a future lawyer or a future master-mind criminal on our hands.
- Toy Timeout – Punishment for any number of misdemeanors. This usually follows a rat-out by a sibling using the previous case-pleading technique. We choose whichever toy is the star of the moment and the toy gets put in a visible, but unreachable spot for a length of time determined by the parent, based on the severity of the crime. Kid can see their favorite toy, but can’t get it back until they wait out the time and apologize to whomever they wronged.
When our children complain and ask us why we make them do these crazy things, we typically respond,
“Because we’re not allowed to beat you. Unless you ask. Your choice!”
What are some of your best non-traditional rules and punishments?