Problems Using Academic Assignments or Homework as a Punishment

In the heat of the moment, it is not uncommon for both teachers and parents to assign academic work as a consequence to inappropriate behaviors.  In addition, pleasurable breaks such as recess are often withheld when students are being unruly or they don’t complete classwork.  A punishment might involve a writing assignment, extra math problems or additional homework.

Why is This a Problem?
The issue with this method is that children associate negative consequences and punishments with academics.  So, for example, if Patty was told to write an essay because she exhibited inappropriate behaviors, the next time she has to write for a school assignment, she will likely associate the negativity she was feeling to writing in general.  In another instance, if Nick had to stay in from recess because he didn’t get his assignment done, he will learn to dread future assignments.

What are Some Better Ways to Handle Unruly Behaviors?

  1. Ignore bad behaviors and reward positive behaviors.  Surprisingly, many kids learn negative behaviors. For example, a child can learn that complaining and whining can get them what they want if someone at sometime gave into their demands.  In addition, if a child only gets attention when misbehaving, they may choose that negative attention is better than no attention at all.  So make a conscious effort to change this cycle and praise all positive behaviors with rewards, verbal appraisals and benevolent attention. 
  2. Use the Opportunity to Lead a Discussion and Lesson on Social Skills.  Interrupt the unruly behaviors and have a calming heart to heart discussion with your child or children.  If necessary, give a “timeout” where all involved spend 3-5 minutes sitting quietly to calm nerves. If it is a classroom, have the class sit in a circle.  Take some deep breaths and encourage the participants to let their bodies relax. Next, see if the students can identify the problem and then ask them to suggest solutions.  If they are a part of creating the solution, they are more likely to make the right decision the next time the situation repeats.
  3. Allow Kids to Earn the Things They Want.  Many children are given all the things they desire without having to work for it.  If however, children earn their belongings, they will value these items more and take pride in their accomplishments.

Let’s Flip the Coin and Associate Pleasantries with Learning
Clearly, we need to help students feel positive about learning.  Therefore, making an effort to associate academics with joy and fun is best.  What can we do to nurture this positive association?

  1. Integrate games into the learning process.
  2. Come up with fun and enticing names for lessons.
  3. Go multisensory and teach to all of the 12 Ways of Learning.
  4. Be excited about the material you are teaching.  Enthusiasm is contagious.
I think you will find the more you associate pleasantries with learning the more you and your children will enjoy the learning process.  I hope you have found this blogpost to be helpful.   If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments section below.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to &  
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Natural Strategies that Can Help Students Academic Abilities and Behaviors

More and more children are being medicated for school based problems related to attention and learning issues, and families are concerned
about the short term and long term effects.  In addition, most caregivers don’t want to mask the presenting symptoms.  Instead, they want to get
to the root cause of the problem.   
What are Some
Possible Causes that can be Addressed Naturally?
There are three possible causes that can addressed
without medications.  First, there are
increasing amounts of toxins and unhealthy, synthesized substances in our environment that have
impacted our food chain and water supplies.  For
instance, toxic levels of mercury are often reported in many types of fish and
professionals are continually warning us about the dangers of pesticides and
genetically modified foods. 
Second, many available foods contain preservatives, additives and other
chemicals that can negatively impact on our bodies and brains.  A common additive, monosodium glutamate or MSG, is used by restaurants to make patrons feel full.  However, this substance can also cause headaches, intestinal distress and other unpleasant symptoms. Third, in our fast paced society, many
kids do not have a well balanced diet and therefore struggle with nutritional
deficiencies.  An imbalanced diet can impact
physical development, organs, and because the blood feeds the brain, poor
nutrition can affect cognition. 
What are Some Common
Symptoms that Indicate Nutritional Deficiencies?
Rough dry skin
Cracked lips
Dry or dull hair
Pasty skin
Excessive thirst

What are Some Common
Symptoms that Indicate Toxins are Present in the Body?
Intestinal issues
Mental fog
Inflammatory conditions
Head aches
Sinus problems
Difficulty sleeping
What Can We Do?
Use natural cleaning products without synthesized agents and heavy
Clean your house with hot steam instead of
plenty of clean water.
organic produce and meat.
Eat detoxifying foods, like fruits and vegetables.
     6.    Take a high grade fish oil supplement.  Here is a great video on the benefits of fish oil
     7.     Take high quality vitamins.
processed foods – particularly white flour and sugar.
     9.     Exercise your body 3-5 times a week.
    10.    Allow
your body to have some down time.
I hope you found this helpful!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to &  
Follow on Bloglovin