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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 three little ones and sometimes find it hard to get them to listen. Thanks for article. I will try this and see what happens.

    Charlene on
  • This is so great. While punishment does have its place in changing behaviors, positive reinforcement has much better (and quicker) results. The key is finding what motivates each child. I used a similar method with some of my classes — for every day I walked in the classroom & they were quietly & diligently on-task (they were supposed to begin a journal assignment when the bell rang), they got a marble in the jar. And I taught high school. You’d be surprised how even 15-year-olds will jump to it to earn a marble in a jar!

    Rachel on

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