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Creative Discipline For 4-Year-Olds


Discipline is one of those aspects that both the parent and the child do not look forward to. Fortunately, there are various creative ways to carry out the discipline in a way that does not demoralize the child.

Some creative ways to discipline 4-year-olds are to make them do some physical exercise, focus on time-ins instead of time-outs, have them pick their disciplinary method, decrease playtime hours, or use a point system involving chores.

The usual discipline methods used for children are generally well-known and familiar, leading children to take them for granted. This leads to the child not learning anything or gaining new insights about why they were disciplined.

Writing assignment as a creative punishment for a 4 year old.

Creative Discipline For 4-Year-Olds

The last thing you want is for discipline to have negative consequences. These ideas will help you get the point across much more positively.

Turn Time Out Into Time In

Usually, one of the most popular disciplines administered is a time-out. The child will be forced to face the wall or sit in a corner and be silent and still. Try time-ins to make this more creative and infinitely more beneficial to the kid.

Instead of just sitting there, not doing anything, give the child a task they can focus on, such as reading or writing the alphabet.

The goal is for them to be engaged in something productive instead of just sitting there, stewing in their feelings and thoughts.

One creative punishment for a 4 year old is having them spend their "play time" picking up and putting away toys.
Picking up and putting away toys.

Give Your Child A Physical Activity To Do

Children generally have an overabundance of energy. One great way to discipline a 4-year-old creatively is to have them do something physical, like yoga or running in place.

If your 4-year-old doesn’t pack up their toys after you’ve asked them to, you can bust out the yoga mat and have them do a series of yoga moves.

Doing something physical is a great way for the kid to cool off and clear their mind. It will also instill a good habit of them using physical exercise as a way to take time off in the future when they feel overwhelmed.

Use A Point System Involving Chores

Another creative way to discipline your child and get the house cleaned is to make a list of chores appropriate for 4-year-olds and assign points to each chore. For example, dusting the bookshelf can be 5 points, etc. Each type of wrongdoing has a number of points assigned, and the kid must work off the points before getting off the hook.

Suppose they don’t go to bed on time or don’t do their homework when told to. Not going to bed on time could require 10 points earned in chores before the child has their freedom back. (source).

Decrease The Hours Of Playtime

As you know, kids don’t want to miss out on playtime, especially with their friends; therefore, this can be used to your advantage. When your kid is misbehaving or not doing as told, you can take away 5 minutes of playtime and add it to time-in.

4 year old punishment - reducing playtime.

There is no doubt that they will fall in line quickly, to be able to continue enjoying the full allotted time of their playtime (source).

Include Your Child In The Creative Discipline Process

A great way to include your child in their discipline is to sit them down and brainstorm creative discipline ideas. Create scenarios of wrongdoing, etc., and ask them what they think their discipline should be.

Write down the ideas and place them in a safe place like a jar or a box. This way, if your child does something wrong that you both discussed, you can present him with the written discipline instructions and have him decide on or draw their discipline from the container.

This video from Teach Through Love has some great insights on alternative approaches to changing behavior without punishment:


As you can see, disciplining 4-year-olds does not need to be an act that makes them feel bad. The above-mentioned creative discipline methods will help your child understand the lesson that you are trying to teach them without breaking their spirit.

Author Notes:
Teresa is a Registered Nurse in the State of Texas and the mother of two. Opinions and insights on childcare are based on professional knowledge, academic research, and personal experience.

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