I knew it was time to begin using a positive reward system with my 3 year old daughter when my husband asked, "Jess this is what you do for a living! What would you do if she was kid in your class?" Our daughter was beginning to show her 3 year old independent colors. She was throwing tantrums in order to get out of eating dinner, refusing to clean up her toys, and not listening. My personal favorite new behavior is the hissing. Yep, she hisses when I am reprimanding her for something. We will be in trouble once she's a teenager!
That is exactly why we made a trip to the dollar store to buy some marbles! First we started with a marble jar (it was actually a little glass salt shaker). After the first few days, we realized that this was a little too ambiguous. It was hard to tell if it was "full."
1. We made home rules.
~ Listen to Mommy and Daddy.
~ Clean up after myself.
~ Be nice to others.
We wrote these on a piece of construction paper, drew illustrations beside them, and stuck them on the fridge.
2. If she did something nice or helpful, she earned a marble!
3. If a rule was not followed, she had to give us a marble from the tray.
4. Once all the spots in her tray were filled, she got a prize!
Now prizes consist of all sorts of things. Some are dollar store finds: pads of paper, lipgloss, candy, fruit snacks, stickers, etc.
We try to mix in activity prizes too: Playing Candyland, painting with finger paints, helping cook lunch, going to the library, etc.
Sometimes the marble system works...sometimes she just has a rough day. But when you are trying any new strategy, you have to give it ample time to work! Sometimes things get a whole lot worse before they get better :) Consistency is the key!
Now there is a reason that I am the manager of the marble jar. One night a couple weeks ago, my daughter slept in her bed all night long (this is becoming a problem in our house). I told her that I was really proud of her and that she almost had all her marbles. I asked her what she thought we should get her for a prize. I would strongly suggest having a prize chosen before the first marble hits the tray (hindsight is 20/20!). I half assusmed she's say "lipstick." Nope. In her sweetest little voice she said, "Hmm...I want a bike." A bike? That isn't exactly one tray worthy!!!
Well, as you can see Kee heard her. After she filled up her tray, he took her to pick out a big girl bicycle. Now we are just waiting for warm weather to ride it!
Do you have a system that is working in your house?