I wrote before about my attempt at a reward chart for Super F and how it caused things to get worse rather than better, so we stopped using the chart. I had been looking for other ways to get him to take responsibility for himself, his behavior, and his things, and to encourage him to “go above and beyond” with what he does to help around the house.
The new idea came to me thanks to the former nanny and mom of a boy in Super F’s swim class. She said she had spent 15 years as a nanny, and in those years she learned that there is no single approach that works with all kids, and to just keep trying different things until I find what works with Super F. She suggested a marble jar, so I went home and googled the marble jar system, made sure Dean was on board with trying it out (because you have to have a united front on these things), and purchased this one from Amazon.
We started it the day it arrived and explained to Super F that good behavior would help him earn marbles, but that not following directions would cause him to lose marbles. The most important part of this system is letting him put in and take out the marbles himself. We have been using the system for nearly three weeks now, and he is getting close to filling the jar for his first reward.
What I like about this system is that he is seeing tangible progress towards his reward as he watches the jar fill up. He is also involved in the system by putting in and taking out marbles so he instantly sees how his behavior impacts his goal in filling the jar. Also, it is easy to remind him to think about the marbles when he is struggling with making good choices. It’s also very easy to customize this system depending on the type of behaviors you want to see in your child. Whether you are potty training and your child gets a marble each time they make it to the potty, or trying to get your teenager to stop leaving dirty clothes on the floor by giving them a marble each day that they put it in the hamper, it’s easy to make it work for all ages.
image credit: http://www.amazon.com