We have started a parenting tool at our house that has worked really well over the last couple of weeks. It’s a reward system for good behavior and works for discipline as well.
You know the method where you put marbles in a jar for good behavior and take them out for misbehaving? Then when the jar is full, the child gets a reward. Seems simple enough. But the visual is probably hard for a 3 year old. It’s hard to know how many more marbles are needed and just how much work needs to be done. I would think that would make the goal seems impossible to attain, which would be so discouraging and pretty unappealing when you can’t see the big picture.
So, we created a chart of our own. I am not saying this is the first time anyone has ever done such a thing, it is just our chart version of the marble jar. We chose 5 activities to use for rewards and when she earns 9 stickers, she gets her reward.
We picked rewards that are special to her. As you can see, she is on her way to earning an ice cream cone. She loves ice cream and chose that as her first goal. Yesterday I even asked her if she wanted a different sticker besides an ice cream cone but she still chose the cone. So, obviously, when she has 5 more, we will take her out for ice cream. The next one down is the picture of a bike trailer. We have one that she calls a “carriage” you know, like a princess 🙂 and she gets to go on a long bike ride with Daddy when she completes that line. The next one is a Starbucks cup, but it stands for whatever she wants to drink. She likes the strawberry smoothies from Metro and the watermelon slushes from Sonic, so that one is her choice too. The next one is for Target. She gets to pick something out from Target. Sister LOVES Target, and Hobby Lobby. She’s a girl after my own heart. Hobby Lobby might have to be on her next chart (And more Pinkalicious books. She loves those too). For her last one, we will take her to a movie. We did that once before and she had a great time.
As you can see, the chart is nothing fancy. I just made a table in Publisher and pulled pictures in. But it works fabulously. She’s motivated and she can visually see the finish line, which I think makes all the difference. When she gets an ice cream cone for good behavior, she gets so excited, jumps up and down, and places her sticker on with a very proud smile. She feels such a sense of accomplishment. We try to reward her for behavior but also for positive character traits and when she has a Christ-like attitude. Last night Dave was trying to open the door but his hands were full. Without even being asked, she jumped up and said “Dad I will get it for you!” We were impressed that she was so thoughtful without being asked – at age 3. Showing her that we appreciate her heart is important too!
It’s an equal amount of passion when she is misbehaving. All we have to do is ask “Do we need to take an ice cream cone away?” And the answer will be “No. I going to do…” whatever it is that we asked. We have only had to remove one once and ohhh man. That blood curdling scream you heard the other night at your house? That was my daughter getting her ice cream cone taken away. Something she had worked hard to earn was being taken away. It broke my heart, but it’s such a great learning tool for her. She puts so much energy into earning her ice cream cones. She’s generally a really good kid, and include a good nap, and she has been having some really good days. That leads to more good behavior, which leads to more ice cream cones, which leads to more pride in herself and her behavior and improved self confidence, which leads to more good behavior, which leads to more ice cream cones, which leads to more pride in herself and her behavior and improved self confidence… you get it.
I took this right after she put up an ice cream cone. She was so excited. I can’t wait to take her out for ice cream and tell her how proud we are of her and really reinforce how her good behavior got her to this point. She has already requested strawberry ice cream!
I started this post a week ago and I am just now finishing it. I cannot believe how much her behavior has improved since we started this. She has never been a defiant child by any means. She has always been very compliant and well mannered. But, she’s a 3 year old, and she’s human, so there’s going to be bad days. It’s amazing to me to see how much she has grown since we have put this rewards system in place! I could not be more proud of her!
What new parenting techniques are you learning right now?