5 Punishments For 5 Year Olds That Work

The older kids get, the more clever they become.

That is excellent… but it means you have to keep on the front foot when it comes to ensuring their behavior is good!

Gone are the days of the terrible twos, and your kid is probably past the stage of hitting for no reason and even screaming!

But… now you have to re-think your discipline strategies.

You need some punishments for 5-year-olds that work!

5 Punishments For 5 Year Olds That Work

Punishments for 5 year olds

5 Reasons Why You Should Change Punishment For Your 5-Year-Old

Pushing Limits

As your child gets old, they continue to push the limits to see what they can and cannot get away with.

You have to remember that your 5 year old has more experience than before, and they have interacted with more kids. That means they have watched other kids’ behavior and will replicate their attempts (monkey see, monkey do!) at pushing limits. They have seen what other kids get away with.

It is what happens, so you need to improve every year!

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Valid Points

They have valid points, and they like you being dismissive, especially if you don’t listen.

For me, this is the worst reason. They actually have a point! Their arguments make sense.

The problem is that this invokes a different reaction from you. One that you are not used to. Sometimes us parents can dismiss any disagreements with our kids out of hand. Now your kid is making a valid point, and being dismissed leads to frustration.

This doesn’t call for any punishments for your 5-year-old; it is more of a change to how you deal with this change.

Wants To Be Treated Like An Older Child

Your 5-year-old is getting older now, and as the year’s progress, they want to be treated more like an older child.

The problem is that their behavior doesn’t justify the change from your perspective, right?


Your 5-year-old is starting to use their brain a bit more. That is a good thing and a bad thing all at once!

Why is it a bad thing? Because now they are honing their lying skills. They know that they can falsify a situation to get themselves out of trouble or get someone else into trouble.

It is more of a challenge to catch out a 5-year-old than it is a younger kid.

Good Ideas

Sometimes when kids talk, you don’t listen.

This is mostly true because you are right in the middle of doing something when your kid is constantly talking to you about something.

They have some good ideas, but you might be dismissive because of the volume of words that leave their mouth on an hourly basis!

This could lead to frustration.

5 Appropriate Punishments For 5-Year-Old Kids

When your kid gets a little older, you need to change the process for corrective behavior!

5 Punishments For 5 Year Olds That Work Infographic

Positive Discipline

I’ve said it a ton of times on this page, but positive discipline is much better than negative discipline!

Rewarding good behavior builds strong foundations for continued good behavior.

When your kid comes up with a good idea or resolves an issue themselves, you should praise them.

That way, they will be more inclined to solve problems themselves rather than get you involved every time.

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Positive discipline is not just a good punishment for 5-year-olds; it is a complete behavioral management technique that works into adulthood and beyond! Think about it… you even get reviewed in your job, right?


Your 5-year-old now has a good understanding of the consequences. When a child is mean and rude, it leads to punishment. Being good (hopefully) leads to positive praise.

Disciplining a 5 year old must start with natural consequences!

Give your 5-year-old clear and natural consequences for bad behavior. The most important thing is that you make the consequence believable and something that you will 100% go through with. Empty threats will only backfire on you, don’t do it!

Genuinely think about a consequence that you will carry out, and tell them straight what it is. If your 5 year old misbehaves, carry it out.

Get Them To Justify Their Actions

Another awesome discipline technique for 5-year-olds is getting them to justify their actions.

Let’s say they threw a toy because you asked them to get dressed (common for a 5-year-old). Sit them down and ask them to explain why they threw a toy.

Listen to the response. Don’t give up until you get a response. This forces your 5-year-old to think about their reaction. Hopefully, they come up with the answer, ‘oh… throwing a toy only got me into more trouble. I had better learn from that’.

Ask How They Would Deal With It

This is one of my favorite responses to bad behavior. I ask my son the following:

If one of your friends behaved like that, how would you explain to them that it was bad behavior?

At first, I didn’t get much of a response, other than more anger! I quickly learned that this only works when my son was not angry anymore.

It is a good technique because it put my son in my position, and he figured out for himself what the punishment should be.

Remove Favorite Toys

This is always my default fallback punishment for 5-year-olds!

The positive news is that your 5 year old is probably now getting heavily into one set of toys. That gives you a punishment that is a direct strike on bad behavior.

Think about what your kid plays with the most. Explain that bad behavior means that you will remove that toy for 1 day. It will increase with further bad behavior.

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Now that your 5 year old understands consequence, it works! Not every time… but most of the time, it works.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

Do 5 year olds understand consequences?

Yes, absolutely. A 5 year old has a good understanding of consequence, especially if you have not been making empty threats for the last 5 years! Some folks run through threats that never get carried out. That only teaches kids that they can do what they want without consequences. By carrying out threats, it builds their understanding of the consequences.

How do you discipline a 5 year old who doesn’t listen?

Will they listen to positive praise? Instead of only disciplining your child when they are bad, try doing it when they are good. Offer them a ton of praise when they do well. Explain the concept of a reward system. See if they listen to that! If they do, slip in some consequences of bad behavior, such as removing toys, reducing playtime, screen time, etc.

How do you punish a 5 year old for bad behavior at school?

First, you must attack the problem together with the teachers. It is not good enough to rely on teachers to deal with the problem at school. Ask what punishments they give your 5 year old at school and replicate them at home. Tell your 5 year old that you will ask their teacher every day how their behavior has been. Tell them the consequences of behavior, good or bad. Most importantly, follow up on punishments! Empty threats only make it worse for you all in the long-run.


On this page, I have given you 5 punishments for 5-year-olds that WORK!

One of them may not work for your 5-year-old, but with all 5, you have tons of tools in your arsenal to deal with this new mini human.

5 is a fund age because kids really start to justify things they do, and they start to behave more like a human than they ever have before. That means you need to change your discipline techniques to account for the new behavior!

They can’t rule the roost yet, can they?

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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