The Benefits of Conscious Discipline – What It Is & Why We Use It




What is Conscious Discipline?

To promote social-emotional learning, discipline, and self-regulation, EOU Head Start utilizes a Conscious Discipline approach to learning. This evidence-based, trauma-informed behavior management system is a four-part approach to developing important skills and traits in every learner. 

This system works to build a foundation for lasting behavior change that will prepare and motivate your child to make better choices on their own. Despite misconceptions, Conscious Discipline does not mean “no consequence.” Rather, Conscious Discipline implements effective consequences rather than just utilizing traditional consequences, such as punishments or rewards. 

The chart below, provided by Dr. Becky Bailey, the creator of Conscious Discipline, breaks down the difference between punishments and consequences.




Why Conscious Discipline?

Unlike traditional consequences, such as punishments or rewards, Conscious Discipline is not a “quick fix.” It takes time, work, and consistency to build the foundation a child needs to make good decisions on their own. 

However, the time and effort Conscious Discipline takes is worth the reward. When we intentionally use effective consequences to teach and challenge children, we create the intrinsic motivation to do better and make good choices in the future. As time goes on, a child will begin to make positive choices because they know it’s right, rather than in fear of punishment or in pursuit of a reward. 

As your child grows and enters into new phases of life, these key factors of Conscious Discipline, such as connection, reflection, and personal responsibility, will allow them to grow and achieve in new ways. 



How Can You Institute Conscious Discipline?

Remember, Conscious Discipline takes TIME. With patience and care, you can begin practicing three steps – connection, reflection, and personal growth – to implement effective consequences.




Promoting healthy connections between children and/or teachers is essential for fostering a child’s willingness and desire to learn and improve based on consequences. Unhealthy connections can lead to defensiveness and a lack of empathy. If a child doesn’t, a child will have no desire to change — this is why punishments don’t work, especially when used over and over again. 

To develop healthy connections, Conscious Discipline focuses on fostering empathy and encouragement through multiple methods. The main goal is to make the child feel connected to their peers or teachers, allowing them to see situations from the perspective of another.




For a child to learn from a situation and make lasting changes, they must be able to reflect on their actions and outcomes. Conscious Discipline emphasizes the skill of “noticing,” meaning reflecting on one’s action without judgment. This is a crucial part of reflection, as we want to teach children to learn from past choices rather than beat themselves up over their mistakes.



Personal Responsibility

Unless a child learns to take personal responsibility, the consequences imposed upon them will produce no lasting change. Teaching a child to take personal responsibility for their actions will produce lasting growth. If a child can see the need for change and desires to make the change based on connection and reflection, the behavior changes are much more likely to be permanent.



Help Your Child’s Dream Come True:

Eastern Oregon University Head Start is not just a preschool; it’s a community dedicated to nurturing dreams, fostering growth, and empowering families. Discover how we can make a difference in your child’s life. Visit our website today to learn more about our programs and to begin the application process. Together, let’s build a bright and promising future for your child!


To learn more about how EOU Head Start uses Conscious Discipline or to apply today, visit

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