Procedures and Child Discipline

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Focusing on child discipline is something parents and teacher do every day. But sometimes it seems no matter what you do or say, the child never learns to change their ways.

Here’s a secret: Whenever something a child does bothers you, whether at home or in the classroom, the solution is to teach a procedure. In fact, teaching a procedure is one of the best ways to focus on child discipline.

For example, if students all run to the door at recess, teach a procedure for exiting the classroom. If your child continually leaves their clothes on the floor, teach a procedure for dressing and undressing. You really can teach a procedure for virtually anything.

How a Procedure Makes Child Discipline Easier

A teacher told me that she has been working on teaching procedures for appropriate noise levels. She believed her young students did not really know how to control their voices very well and needed specific instructions. This is what she shared with me:

“I have been telling my students that when they are sitting at their table group they should have ‘Table Group voices.’ That means only their table group needs to and should hear their voice. If someone at the next table hears them or if I hear them, then it’s too loud.

“They were doing an activity in pairs, and I explained that their partner was the only one who needed to hear their voice. We talked about sitting close to their partner and making sure that he/she was the only one to hear. I think if we make a general statement of telling them to talk quietly, that it just isn’t enough to get them to understand how or why to do so. Of course this needs to be connected to the Levels of Development with a conversation about what would someone on level A, B, C, or D look like and sound like.

“Akin to Dr. Marshall’s alphabetical levels of development, I use a numerical level for noise.

  • Level zero – Silence.
  • Level 1 – Partner voice; only the person you are talking to should hear you.
  • Level 2 – Group voice; the voice you use when talking with a small group.
  • Level 3 – Teaching voice; the voice you use when speaking to a large group; this is the voice I use when teaching.
  • Level 4 – Playground voice; this is the voice you use when you are playing games or shouting to your friends at recess.
  • Level 5 – SCREAMING; this voice is what you use when you are hurt or in danger. The only time you might use this voice when you are not in danger is when you are cheering for a sports team

“I tell students before we start every activity what noise level I expect.”

Tip: If anything bothers you, TEACH A PROCEDURE. Just showing can never be as successful as teaching a procedure. You’ll find procedures make child discipline so much easier.


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