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Natural Consequences

Natural Consequences

Why should I do it:

  • Provides powerful instances to teach alternative behaviors and expectations
  • Does not involve adults imposing rules on a child to make a point
  • The child generates the consequence themselves
  • The child sees a direct relationship between their behaviors and actions and the effects of them
  • The child learns by doing

When should I do it:

  • There are numerous reasons and times you may use natural consequences, for example:
    • When a child is running in the hall and bumps another student, falling and hurting their elbow
    • When a child fails to put something away and loses it
    • When a child procrastinates and does not get an assignment or task completed in the time allowed
    • When a student says or does something to another student and that student does not want to be around or play with them
    • Etc…

How do I do it:

  • Use a calm and neutral tone when speaking with the child
  • Ask the student about what they did and the result
  • Have the student explain the connection between their actions and the outcome, cause/effect
  • Ask the student what they will do differently next time
  • Emphasize what happened when they did the behavior and why the rule about the behavior is in place because of this

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Washington State Department of Social & Health Services. Natural Consequences. [].
  2. Love and Logic Program. [].
  3. University of Kansas. Natural and Logical Consequences. [].