Managing Monday’s: forget time out, run a lap
September 12, 2011, 6:00 am
Filed under: discipline, humor, love, Parenting | Tags: , , ,

“How many laps this time mom?” An odd question you might think for a five-year old. Christian had been pushing my buttons and was in trouble again. Three, I responded and added, no walking on the far side, I can still see you. Discipline in the Johnson family has gone through many metamorphosis’ before we came on the brilliant combination of getting energy out and time for everyone to cool off.

Time outs never really worked for my kids, they usually got into more trouble while in the time out than they had been before. Separation and alone time were important, discipline was necessary. By the grace of God, and the timing of being at a friends house, when her son was running laps around their house, we fell into a perfect solution to our dilemma. What is Kye doing? “Running laps, he got in trouble for talking back so he has to run laps” my friend Jen told me. That’s your discipline technique? Does it work? “Well, better than anything else we have tried, and at least he is getting exercise while working through his anger,”she said wearily. “I get a break too, and seeing him run reminds me he is still just a kid” Jen added thoughtfully.

With four kids, some anger issues, smart ass, disrespectful behavior is expected. Dealing with it in a way that shuts it down without shutting them out is not easy. In our home running laps was a great option. We created an established lap which included our neighbors driveway as well as our back yard. It was not too far for the younger ones, but far enough to make sure it was not a fun thing. If they got out of line, or in trouble for one reason or another, out they would go, to run laps. Yes, even in the winter, they would have to bundle up and run.

My neighbors who we were very good friends with always joked they knew what kind of day I was having, depending on how many times they saw my kids running by their window. I found that it was a great way to deal with discipline in a non combative, healthy way. I would simply say laps! The severity of the behavior, dictated the number of laps. I would usually have them run one lap, come in and tell why they were running, then send them out again to finish or give them grace. If they claimed to not know what they did wrong, I would send them on another lap to think ‘real hard’ as to why I might be upset with them.

I believe this worked for us because it really did allow for the ‘time out’ needed for both parent and child. It also gave them time to work through the adrenaline, anger, and frustration they were feeling in a non violent, safe environment. I would at times run with them, or siblings that were involved with the altercation might offer to do a few laps for the one running. It has been a positive way to communicate and stop poor behavior and choices while helping me maintain my sanity and rules.

This type of discipline works best for 5-10 year old kids. Other forms of physical fitness like push-ups or sit-ups did not seem to work as well. Make sure the kids know the lap, can physically do it, and be safe while doing it. This is just an idea, something that worked for us, let me know what has worked for you and if you have any great suggestions now that my kids are all teenagers! Otherwise, have fun running for time out!


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sure wish I’d thought of this when Jeff was so restless his feet were on the ceiling!

Comment by Barb Stoefen

oh barb you make me laugh, laps laps and more laps for my three boys, wish it still worked

Comment by Kari

Seriously used to get scared that my dad would start making me run laps when he saw your kids running through our backyard.
I would like to point out the grammar in the sentence about your neighbors. We ARE good friends not were! 🙂 Mom and I would totally know when to break out the cookie dough or coffee depending who was running and how much 🙂
Love you!

Comment by Kate

kate, this is so true. It makes me laugh even now. Your parents always threatened to make you guys do stuff like my kids and we always got to use your house as our escape!

Comment by Kari

Comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: