For a long while we were having some major discipline problems with Andrew. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it (don’t we all!) which would result in some terrible fits and tantrums. We tried everything: time-outs, taking away privileges and or toys, even yelling. It was making all of us miserable and we were at our wit’s end.
I know a lot of people do reward charts, but I didn’t think that would work with Andrew. He is very physical and visual and I didn’t think it would be an incentive enough, even with the possibility of an award. As I was thinking and praying about this, I decided to try doing an “rewards jar” or “discipline jar.” I talked to Michael about it and we both figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
First, we went to the dollar store and picked up a jar (actually, all we could find was a plastic vase) and some decorative stones (Andrew loves rocks, so we went with the stones but you could use marbles or anything small).
We let Andrew decorate the jar. He wanted to be able to see the stones so he only used a few stickers, and a picture of himself when he was a baby. Then we used a crayon to write his name.
Also, I typed up some house rules, a chore chart and a behavior chart. On the chore chart and behavior charts, I assigned a points system. I printed out the charts and taped them to the wall at Andrew’s eye level.
This is how it works: Each time Andrew cheerfully does his chores or behaves appropriately, he would earn stones that he can put in his jar. When he accumulated a certain amount of stones he can exchange them for a special treat. For example, every time he brushes his teeth he gets two stones or every time he does his school work or obeys mama and daddy the first time he gets 5 stones. The stone value depends on the difficulty and/or “unpleasantness” of the task. We also throw in a few extra stones in here or there when he’s been exceptionally good which is helping him stay motivated.
It has been three weeks now and we are so happy how well this is working! He often looks for ways to be good and earn stones. We have been heaping on tons of excitement and praise when he earns stones, which has been making him want to earn more!
Of course he still “has his moments” and there have been days when his behavior was so naughty he lost most or all his stones, but overall, he is like a new little boy! And believe me, a happy, well-behaved child (for the most part!) works for me!
For the record, we make it very easy to earn a lot of stones quickly and we make it very easy to earn rewards. This way he can visually see his stones build up and he gets a special reward a couple days a week. As a matter of fact, I would say that on an average day, with minimal misbehavior, he can earn about 20 stones just for doing his daily tasks. On his exceptionally good days he has earned up to 40 or more! To balance that out, he needs at least 35 stones before he can start trading them in for points.
Now it’s your turn. What tricks or tips do you have for getting your kids to do their chores or behave as they should?!