5 Ways to Build Discipline in Your Kids

At The Dojo, one of our fundamental rules is called the Zero Rule - that rule just means that we should do what we know we’re supposed to do, without anyone having to tell us. It’s a simple rule for kids to understand, and when they follow that rule, they’re demonstrating self-discipline and responsibility.

As you’re teaching your kids how to develop their own discipline, here are 5 simple ways to help them develop that important skill:

1. Start small

When you first started driving, your parents didn't give you the car keys and turn you loose on the interstate during afternoon rush hour on a Friday. You probably learned to drive on your neighborhood roads or in a deserted parking lot.

From there, you worked your way up to two-lane roads, highway driving, and eventually tackled that on-ramp to the interstate. The same is true when you're building a sense of discipline in your child. Don't throw him into rush hour traffic.

Start by selecting one task that is relatively easy to do, easy to remember, and can be done every day. A few ideas on places to start are: putting dirty clothes in the hamper, putting shoes in the same place each day (or night), clearing his or her plate from the supper table, or turning off the lights when leaving a room.

Pick one task, and after a few successful days of that, add another one, and then another, until your child has a good routine established.

2. Set the example

We've all heard it said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Well, it's true. As parents, we know that we can tell our kids something until we're blue in the face, and they may never do it. Slip up with a bad word one time, though, and you can bet you'll be hearing it fly out of your kid's mouth at the most inopportune moment.

What kids see us do is what they will do. While you're trying to instill discipline in your child, model that behavior for them as well. Instead of coming home from work and crashing on the couch right away, change your work clothes, put them away, and put everything in its place.

Take a few extra minutes each day to demonstrate simple ways that you are disciplined in your approach, and your kids will begin to follow suit.

3. Be consistent but flexible

The Rock is famous for his work ethic and strict diet, and he's also notorious for having some of the best cheat days. His sushi Sunday and giant pancake stack are glorious examples of how not to eat on a daily basis.

But, he would argue that those cheat days every once in a while are necessary. It's hard to maintain that strict discipline at home as well. Sometimes we have those days where we just don't feel like picking our dirty socks up off the floor. Our brains have turned to mush, and we've had enough, so we just don't do it.

That happens with our kids, too. Be consistent in reminding your kids that they need to stick to the rules, pick up after themselves, feed the cat and dog, etc. If, scratch that, when, your kids have a bad day and just can't seem to get it together, cut them some slack, show them some grace, and let them know that it can happen to the best of us.

They'll be more mindful of their tasks the next time they feel like skipping them.

4. Track progress and reward success

Voltaire said, "The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it."

And while it's true that you feel great when you do something good, that feeling doesn't go a long way when kids think all they're doing is boring stuff that seems like work. So, that's where the next two steps come in to play.

Kids, and adults too, love seeing that they're making progress. Whether it's a magnetic chore chart, a school behavior clip chart, or leveling up in a video game, seeing that progress is important. Hang a chart or whiteboard in a common room and check off a box every day when your child completes a task.

Set a goal for your child to complete certain number of tasks, or to complete one task a certain number of times. You may even be surprised to find that your child enjoys completing tasks because he gets to check off that box. Giving someone a sense of completion is a great motivator.

Your kids have worked hard to reach the goals you set for them, and you worked hard setting them up for that success. Take time to sit back and celebrate that success. That celebration will look different for everyone.

Maybe you have a family movie night and you let your kids pick the movie and you make their favorite movie snacks. You could go out for ice cream as a family, or maybe you let your kids pick a family activity out, such as bowling or mini golf. Perhaps you reward the kids with a fun, homemade trophy or medal.

Whatever you decide, make it a moment to remember for your kids. Stop. Take time to recognize the awesomeness of what your kids have accomplished. High fives all around.

5. Enlist help from a coach or mentor

So now you have all these great ideas, but you still may not be sure how to take your first steps. That's where a coach can help. The best athletes in the world have coaches and mentors, so why not you?

Enlist the help of one of our coaches. We've been through these same steps with hundreds of families and have helped them develop the right formula for their children to thrive in a fun but disciplined environment. Schedule an appointment with one of our coaches today to get started.

Develop Your Child's Full Potential!

One of the biggest reasons why kids fail to reach their full potential is the limitations that have been placed on them. These limits can be imposed by the community and society that they spend time in, by well-meaning parents who caution them to set reasonable goals, and ultimately, once they’ve been conditioned to shoot low, by their own mindsets.

The more limits you place on your kid, the more fear they have, which puts the brakes on them reaching the greatness they’re capable of! When parents do this, it’s almost always an effort to shield their kids from failure - “If you keep your goals in perspective and keep them reasonable, then you’re less likely to fail.” If this sounds like you... if you’re the mom or dad that’s placing limits on your kid(s) & not encouraging them to dream big, remember that the seeds you plant in their brains will affect them for the rest of their lives.

Every kid has the ability to achieve great things... but here’s the thing:

Nothing from the world around them will get them to the point of reaching their full potential. It all starts in their brains. Their inner world. The way they view themselves, the way they view the world around them, the positive/negative talks that they have with themselves... all those factors influence whether or not they will achieve all that they possibly could.

An easier way of saying it is, if you want your kid to have the confidence and ambition to achieve great things, you have to encourage them to expand their imagination, and to live without limitations. Even, ESPECIALLY, if that means experiencing failure and learning to move past it and grow.

Dream BIG.

If you put limits on your kids by telling them what they can/can’t do, then most of the time, they’ll only go as far as the limit that you set for them. Or in some cases, they may not even reach that limit. Why not encourage them to dream big? Why not help them dream of achieving the most amazing things possible?

There’s absolutely no reason for kids to do anything but imagine themselves at the highest of heights. If you tell your kids that the sky's the limit, they won’t even get to get a glimpse of the stars. Let them reach higher. If they reach for the stars they’ll almost definitely touch the sky.

Plant the seed.

The best time to encourage your kid to believe that there are no limits on what they can achieve is around the ages of 3-12 years old. This age group is around the time that your kid will either enter a new social environment (school, pre-K...), soon become a teen, or they’ll be somewhere in the middle. This age range is an important time to feed them this mindset because anything they learn from you, or any other influential figure to them, will affect their mentalities for the rest of their lives. Start early. Plant the seed in their brains now, and watch them flourish!


Why the Dojo is a Great Way to Start

Here at The Dojo, one of our many missions as coaches and influencers is to train our kids’ minds to think positively and optimistically, which influences their ways of thinking as they continue to get older. Our kids know that not only are they encouraged to dream big, and to realize that they have no limits on what they can achieve, but that they are wholeheartedly supported by each of the Dojo staff. Most of the kids that we teach are between the ages of 3-12 years old and, which is the best time to place them in supportive environments where they are surrounded by positive messaging and like-minded friends. This gives them the opportunity to gain social skills, and be around energy that will lay the groundwork for their thinking. This energy influences their daily living as they continue to grow!