Classroom Management – Reasonable Consequences

A consequence is the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. Good classroom management regularly uses reasonable consequences.

When a teacher makes use of reasonable consequences in her classroom, she is teaching her kids to be accountable for their actions.

“The purpose of a consequence is to retrain the brain and transform the heart.” (Jody Copehart)

I love this quote! I think Jody said it very well. The reason we use consequences in our classrooms is to retrain how our kids think , feel, and behave.

It’s important to make sure that the consequences for actions in our classes are reasonable. Remember, we are lovingly training our kids to love God and to love people. Kids pick up quickly on actions they consider unfair. A reasonable consequence would never be considered unfair. They may not like it, but they can’t call it unfair.

For example, during snack time a child spills their juice. An unreasonable consequence would be to tell the child that they cannot have snack for the next month. Kids would consider that unfair (and rightly so!)  A reasonable consequence would be for that child to clean up the mess. That consequence is logical. They had a spill so they clean it up. Logical and reasonable.

Keep in mind that reasonable consequences are not just for misbehavior. That is why I am talking about them during this series on classroom management and not during a series about discipline. Reasonable consequences are about teaching kids the result of choices. Sometimes these are related to unacceptable behavior and sometimes simply poor choices.

Here are some other examples of reasonable consequences:

  1. If a child plays with a toy, they are responsible for putting it away.
  2. If a child spills their apple juice, they clean it up.
  3. If a child spills a friend’s apple juice, they apologize, clean it up, and make sure their friend gets another drink.
  4. If a child uses rude or inappropriate speech during class, they need to find a nice way to say the same thing.
  5. If a child hurts someone, they need to do something kind for them.
  6. If 2 children are talking to each other instead of listening to the story/lesson, they need to move so they are not sitting together anymore.

Let me encourage you as a Sunday School teacher to start using reasonable consequences in your classroom. Teach your kids that they are responsible for their behavior and the results of their behavior.

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