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10 Time Out Alternatives For Creative Discipline

Moms Helping Moms! Share The Love!

Looking for time-out alternatives?

Keep reading to find out ten punishments that work!

These mom hacks & creative discipline ideas help kids make better behavior choices and get along with their siblings.

Here you will find a mix of consequences for kids and grounding punishment ideas that actually work while helping your kids work on behaving better. 

Time Out Alternatives For Kids

Kids are just little humans. They can get moody, tired, and very “hangry” (you know, that irritable feeling when you are hungry). 

So many times kids act out based on those feelings. Then other times they can act out just because they don’t get their way.

It is our job, as moms, to teach them discipline and help them understand the importance of behaving well.

Punishment For Kids

The AAP (American Academy Of Pediatrics) recommends positive discipline rather than physical or verbal punishment. 

We want to raise our kids to be responsible, happy adults who know about the consequences. We need to teach our kids about self-control and making good behavior choices.

As we know, not all children are the same.

In fact, all three of my children have very different personalities. 

So what works for one child may not work with another child. 

How To Punish Your Child

I remember before I had kids, seeing a toddler throw a tantrum in a store because they couldn’t have a toy. I remember thinking my “future” children will never do that.

How embarrassing, right? 

Flash forward many years later and my third child threw that same tantrum on me in the middle of Target on a very busy day.

I remember being totally caught off guard and brutally embarrassed. 

My older children had NEVER did that. 

They listened quite well. 

In fact, my little toddler seemed to break the mold on all the things my other two never did.

So I realized early on, I had to think of some creative discipline ideas because time-out was not going to work with him.

Consequences For Kids 

For kids to take responsibility for their behavior and learn, the consequence should be related to the behavior.

For instance, one time my toddler threw a tantrum over not wanting to leave the park, I explained his consequence would be that if he did not stop we would not come back to the park for a while. 

He continued on with his tantrum.

The next time we drove by the park and he wanted to go, I explained what had happened before, and that we couldn’t visit the park because of his tantrum.

So after a couple of weeks, we finally returned back to the park and when it was time to leave, he started to get upset.

I reminded him that he if threw a tantrum, we wouldn’t be able to come back for a long period of time. 

He instantly remembered that he really did miss some park days before and that wasn’t very fun.

So he stopped that tantrum immediately and NEVER threw another tantrum over leaving the park again. 

By calmly explaining to him the consequence, he was able to make the choice for his behavior, and thankfully for us both, he made the right choice.

So relating the consequence to the misbehavior is really important, but it can’t always be done. 

For example, when he threw a tantrum over a toy in Target, I couldn’t say that he would not be able to go back to Target with me. 

That just wasn’t a realistic option for our family because my kids are ALWAYS with me. 

So when you can’t relate the consequence to the behavior then you need to think of some creative punishment tactics that will still teach them to make better behavior choices. 

Creative Discipline For Kids

As my children grew older, I had to come up with new ideas because what works for a while usually can lose its effectiveness over time or it doesn’t work for all age levels. 

Also, I wanted my kids to learn how to solve their own problems, especially when it comes to sibling disagreements. 

Kids need to know the importance of following the rules and behaving well. 

Over the years, I have used some mom hacks to teach my kids the consequences of acting out and that they should try their best to get along.

These time-out alternatives have truly helped keep my household stay more harmonious and it has helped my kids get along better.

Creative Discipline Tips For Kids

10 Creative Punishments For Kids That Actually Work

Time-out alternatives for kids that enforce positive discipline for happier kids and calmer moms. 10 punishments that work!

1. No Screen Time – This one WORKS!

My kids are limited on their screen time anyway, so they DO NOT want to lose any of their “precious” screen time.

This punishment has yet to lose its effectiveness in our house.

In fact, all I have to do when kids start misbehaving is look at them and say “screen-time” and they immediately understand what that means. 

2. Chores – My kids already have daily chores, but if they act up they are given extra chores.

Kids don’t like to clean, let’s be honest, moms don’t like to clean either.

So this little mom hack works because it teaches your child a consequence of their behavior and gives you one less thing you need to do around the house. Win-win!

3. Exchanging Chores – This is one I like to use when there is a sibling disagreement. If one child does something unfairly to another child, then they must take on one of their chores. 

Or if both children misbehave, then I have had them clean each other’s rooms. 

4. Writing An Apology – This is another one I use when my children are mean towards each other.

Sometimes, it is hard for kids to apologize to each other and really mean it.

So I have my kids write down a meaningful apology and then write down 10 things they love about their sibling.

This is a good positive punishment because it lets your children reflect on what they did and be reminded of how much they love their sibling.

5. Extra School Work – This is a good one to keep your kids busy and learn at the same time. 

Although, I don’t want to have my kids think of learning as a punishment because I want them to be life-long learners. So this is just one I use every now and then.

For instance, I have them do a math worksheet or read a couple of chapters in a book. I have even had my kiddos read pages of my old encyclopedias. 

6. Time-In – Time-in is kind of like time-out except your child is not sitting alone. It’s a time when you sit with them and talk to them about what they did.

I always use this when I know my child needs to talk out their feelings. It is a good time to help them and you to understand why they behaved a certain way, and how they could have done things differently. 

This helps guide children to make better decisions next time.

This has been especially useful when my youngest was a toddler and now that my oldest is a teen. 

7. Writing An Essay – This has been a really good one for my tween and teen. If they feel that they are in the right (as most kids do at this age), then I have them write a persuasive argument essay.

They are able to write out why they think their points are valid and I can read why they feel so strongly that they are right.

Also, it has helped them to understand that sometimes their arguments have no validity at all.

8. Reward Good Behavior – One way to stop bad behavior before it starts, is to reward good behavior. I always give my kids praise when they do their chores without being told, or when they are playing happily with each other. 

Sometimes we go out for ice-cream or have a park day out of the blue just because they have been so good.

9. Go To Bed An Hour Early – My kids love to stay up as late as they possibly can. They pull the usual strings of they need water and stuff like that because my kids really try hard at prolonging bedtime.

So it is annoying to them to have to go to bed before anyone else does.

Especially, when they can still hear their siblings awake. 

10. Give Them A 2nd Chance – As I said before, kids have bad days just like we do. Sometimes they act impulsively and have instant regret.

We all make mistakes and even kids can learn from their mistakes. Sometimes they deserve another chance to get it right.

Positive Parenting Techniques

When it comes to disciplining kids, positive parenting is all about having your child learn from their mistakes and hopefully not repeat them. 

It focuses more on consequences and discipline rather than punishment for kids.

If you feel that you just can’t get your kids to listen without nagging or yelling then you should try this FREE Positive Parenting class

I had read countless parenting books and implemented so many positive strategies, but it wasn’t until this workshop that I had a true “aha” moment. 

I had been losing the power struggle with my toddler and I couldn’t believe how changing my wording ACTUALLY made him listen. 

 Time Out Alternatives For Kids

This “parenting thing” is hard. We didn’t get a manual and we are all doing our best.

We are just trying to raise our kids into being good people.

Kids will try us that is for sure, so they need to know that they can’t always get their way and there are consequences for acting out.

Most importantly, they need to know that we love them no matter what. 

These creative consequences have helped my kids solve many of their own problems. My kids are more inclined to follow the rules, find solutions, and treat each other with respect and kindness.

When kids learn how to solve their own problems, it teaches them coping skills that will help them be happy adults one day.  

Remember, when your kids misbehave, try to keep your cool as best as you can. By staying calm, you are setting a positive example for your child on how to act in stressful situations. 


Check out the Smart Mom Resources page for some of my favorite parenting hacks.

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Do you have any time-out alternatives that you use? PLEASE let me know in the comments 🙂


Moms Helping Moms! Share The Love!

Monday 6th of December 2021

Thanks for sharing these great ideas. I am going to try all these ideas on my child.


Thursday 11th of March 2021

I’m a single dad of four, ages 22, 20, 15 & 13. I’m helping my girlfriend raise her 7 year old son. It has been challenging to say the least. Although I’ve been through this before, it seems much different (and much harder) now. This was a well-written articles with excellent tips. I’m very old-school, raised by a single Black mother, so my upbringing (and discipline) were very different than these suggestions. That being said, I am willing to try them for out née blended family. Thank you!


Monday 3rd of August 2020

These are great tips, thank you. I will be needing them in the next few months as I see the tantrums coming out stronger. LOL.


Monday 27th of July 2020

These are great tips. We’ve been practicing the time in approach for them to better understand what they did wrong and why it’s not ok. We’ve been having a lot of success with this!!

Jennifer Van Haitsma

Friday 12th of June 2020

This is super relevant to me right now after a morning of my 3 year old not listening to me LOL. Thanks for all the tips!

Be sure to check out the SMART MOM RESOURCES page for more parenting hacks and tips!