If you have younger kids, I bet you can relate when I say that I have been struggling with getting my kids to do anything they don’t want to do. I have to ask them repeatedly to clean up their toys, put their dishes away, and not take 35 minutes twice a day to brush their teeth.
I was beginning to feel like I was spending way too much time trying to correct what they were not “doing right” and it was taking a toll on all of us.
Everyone — from adults to kids — love and need to hear when they’re doing a good job. We like to be rewarded (even if it’s just a “thank you”) if we’ve gone above and beyond or exceeded in some way. It’s good for the soul and can make a huge difference when you’re told you’re doing a good job.
There seems to have been a small shift in parenting lately where we’re afraid to tell our kids they’re doing well — for fear of over-good-jobbing them for mundane things. For toddlers, though many parents are okay with making a big deal with their kid when they finally use the toilet and diapers are no longer, some time after that the rewards and “good jobs” seem to stop.
Well, I wanted to stop having to always correct my kids. I wanted it to be more positive around here and so I talked to my kid’s teacher about reward systems and positive reinforcement. In my kid’s classroom they have what’s called a “bean jar.” The kids get a dried bean to put in their jar when they do something awesome like cleaning their toys, listening well, etc. They have set guidelines for what will get a bean and what won’t. When they fill the jar up, the class is rewarded with a popcorn party.
So, we started the same system at home. We got dried black beans, a jar with each of their names on them and have them right next to the TV in the livingroom so the kids can see them at all times. We set out what will get a bean and what won’t, and when the kids do something above and beyond, then they will get a bean as well.
We’ve been doing this system for about 3 months now and the response has been so amazing! They are almost done filling their jar for the first time. The morale around here has certainly changed and it not only feels good for them to be told (and to see, kids love to see) they’re doing a good job, it’s been really great for me to shift my attitude and to be more open to the positive feedback we all need.
Check out some different ways you can set up your own reward system for your kids:
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Photo credit: ©AccustomedChaos
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