Why I Use a Discipline Chart and How it Works

Posted on: December 5, 2016


If you were to put a group of moms together in a room and ask them how they discipline their children, you would probably get a different answer from each of them. There might be the occasional overlapping of time-outs or taking toys away, but many parents choose a variety of discipline methods. And, who can say if one way is better than another. I feel that what it really comes down to is what works best for your child. Each child is different and each child responds differently to certain forms of discipline.

In our family we have found that using a discipline chart works well. The chart allows us to either reward our children for good behavior or discipline them for bad behavior.

Here’s what our chart looks like:



Our sons are big Star Wars fans, so we used that to our advantage. The “Start” panel has a picture of Younglings, who are just learning to be Jedi. Above them is Asoka Tano, who is a young Padawan learner. Above her is Obi Wan Kenobi, a Jedi Knight, and above him is Master Yoda, the greatest Jedi there was. As you can see, there is a succession here. When our children are good, we move their clip up a level. But, if they show bad behavior, they get clipped down. Below the Younglings are Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and Emperor Palpatine: the Dark Side of the force.

You’ll also notice that there are numbers on the Jedi side of the chart. Our oldest son loves to play video games on the Wii. The Start panel equals 15 minutes of play time. If he gets clipped up during the day, we add on the number of minutes on the panel he ends up on. This is a huge motivation for our son to demonstrate good behavior because if he doesn’t and he gets clipped down below the Start panel, he doesn’t get to play.




Using the discipline chart has worked very well for us. Our sons know that if they get clipped down they lose privileges and neither of them like that. They are more apt to obey when they realize that if they don’t, they could get clipped down to Darth Maul or lower if their bad behavior continues. The lower you are, the harder to climb back up the ladder.

Something else I enjoy about using a discipline chart is how it makes my sons feel when they get clipped up. When we notice something our oldest son has done well – whether it’s helping his brother clean up his toys, choosing to obey instead of disobey, or doing a task without having to be asked – and we clip him up, his reaction is priceless. He squeals with delight and runs to the chart to clip himself up. It gives him pride and confidence in himself, knowing that he is doing what he is supposed to and is making mommy and daddy happy. That, in itself, has become more of a reward for him than the time he gets to play on the Wii. And that right there makes it all worth it.

How do you discipline? What works for you?

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