We have a strong willed child, sweet, lovable but strong willed. If your child is anything like mine he or she already knows what they want, when they want it. We’ve been working on instilling good behaviors as we teach our children what we expect from them.
Part of that is rewarding good behavior when we see it and making good choices fun and rewarding. Can I tell you something? I really struggled for a really long time about giving our children rewards for good behavior. For the longest time I felt like they should just listen and do things “because I said so” and not because I was giving them a reward. Right?
And then a wise person explained to me that children need incentive. Just like us adults like incentive every now and again. As an adult sometimes our employers give us incentives to make quarterly goals, and even though we might hate to admit it the chance of winning a company paid for trip or extra bonus really is motivating to us, isn’t it!
Well, it’s the same with children.
Since November of last year we’ve been doing the “good behavior” jars in our home. Each of our children have one. The ages of my children are four and two. We filled a mason jar with puffs you can get at any craft store, and when they do something right or make a good choice they get a “puff” in their jar.
We’re rewarding good behaviors that we’ve already explained to them, such as using their manners. Here are a few other things we reward for:
- picking up after themselves
- being good listeners
- making good choices
- being helpful
In that same respect if we see behaviors that we don’t like or that aren’t tolerated in our home we take a puff out of their jar. We explained all this to our children when we began doing this system. Once the jar is filled up they get rewarded with a special treat or toy of their choosing within the choices we’ve given them. We don’t buy them a new toy every time either because that could get crazy expensive and out of hand. Here’s a list of some of the “rewards” we’ve given them choices to:
- Toy from the dollar spot at Target
- Frozen yogurt outing
- Extra screen time on the Ipad
- Extra minutes to stay up past bed time
- Special date with Mom or Dad
- Dinner out with the family of their choosing
The goal is to make it fun and rewarding. I had my doubts that this would actually work after trying a few other ways to motivate my children. Surprisingly they have taken to the good behavior jar very well and their behavior in turn has changed for the better.
If you’re looking for a fun way to motivate your child’s behavior and get them to make better choices I encourage you to give this method a try. Make it your own, and come up with your own rewards that work best for your family.