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The Wise Choice Jar: A new method to getting your child to listen

Have you ever had it happen to you? I'm certain it has. If it hasn't yet believe, it will; one day your little darling will look into your eyes with the most innocent face and do one of the following: 1. Roll her eyes. 2. Scream, "No! You can't make me!" 3. Completely pretend to not hear you. What causes this unruly behavior your ask? It's really rather simple; our children are growing up, they're turning into mini-adults only they lack the ability to be adults. They are testing our patience and seeing if we'll stick to the boundaries we've set for them.
This was the state of my existence about six months ago. My son, Brennan, was not listening to anything I asked him to do and definitely ignoring whatever instructions discouraged anything he was currently doing. Then I resorted to raising my voice to get his attention, then I started threatening to take away toys, privileges, and really anything that got him to listen to me. All of it was just not working. Naturally, I consulted my pal, Google, and found one approach that has definitely been working for us. In her blog post called "From One Parent to Another," writer Shannon Harrison describes a positive reward system that has definitely helped me in my parenting. It's called The Wise Choice Jar. The concept is simple; if Brennan makes a wise choice like allowing his little sister to play with his toy rather than pitching a fit and yelling at her, I give him a predetermined number of rocks that go in his jar. He's made a wise choice to share so he's rewarded for sharing. If he doesn't share then he doesn't receive any rocks and if the crime is worse than sharing, like complete rebellion, well, I simply give him a little warning and if need be I take rocks out of his jar. When I first introduced the jar concept to Brennan, I only had him fill his jar up to particular points so he could understand the concept. Brennan's first goal was to fill the jar up to the bottom of the label. Once he did that he got to choose from chart that I made where he would like to go and get a treat. Starbucks for hot cocoa, Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt, and Dairy Queen for ice cream sundaes to name a few. After this trial period we simply made his goal a little higher up on the jar. Now he has to fill the entire jar up with rocks before we go to a fun treat place but I can tell you that the benefit of this parenting tactic has been really great for our family. Brennan's leaning how to make the wise choice and I'm not yelling as much. What do you do to encourage your kids to listen and obey you?
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  • I have to try this. Taking away things for poor choices seems so silly to me b/c some of the time, I’m taking away something that has nothing to do with what just happened and I didn’t like that. I too have found myself yelling at Maggie way too often lately. It makes me feel awful at the end of the night. Thanks so much for a new idea.

    Shannon STubbs on
  • Hi Rumsita! I happened to have little decorative rocks on hand so that’s what I used. Whatever is going to make your child the most excited about it is what you should do.

    Bert on
  • I like this approach. We tried a sticker chart last year, but that was only mildly successful. Did you let him pick out the rocks or did you already have them on hand?

    Rumsita on
  • what a great idea! I will have to remember this when my daughter is older. I hope she does well with something like this

    Sarah Hayes on
  • What a great idea! Working towards a goal, taking ownership of own choices, I love it! My son is still a toddler, and I’m not sure if something like this would work for him, but I’d love to give it a shot!

    Talia on

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