I had hoped my daughter’s behavior would improve with age, but I’m realizing I’m in for some trouble. Instead, I needed to devise a way (or ways) to improve behavior.
Turning 5 was bound to be especially difficult. 4 was enough to make me want to drink, pull my hair out, or just walk away. We began to experience more arguments and tantrums unlike any we’d ever seen. She’d forgotten her manners. Unbelievably, I was seeing behaviors that reminded me of myself as a teenager.
Seeking a Solution to Improve Behavior
Though we tried a responsibility chart, I realized this didn’t offer any behavior reinforcement, and certainly did nothing to help improve behavior. So, I scoured the internet for ideas to fill the gap. I came across so many resources and advice to help improve our child’s behavior. The two systems I liked most included:
- The Consequence Jar. This jar is filled with numerous consequences, which she receives for not following house rules.
- The Reward Jar. The premise behind this system is that when your child does a good deed or says something nice, he or she receives a reward ball.
Implementing the Consequence and Reward Jar Systems
Hubby and I spent some time learning about each system individually. We discussed what we did and didn’t like about each system. Then, we determined our plan of action, in hopes of improving her behavior. We were combining the two systems to work hand-in-hand. Additionally, a list of house rules was essential to implement the system.
If even one consequence was pulled from the jar, S would not be receive a reward puff for the day.
Apart from receiving a reward ball for being on her best behavior for the day, we added a bonus. She could earn one extra reward ball if she went above and beyond what was expected of her. Being extra kind or on exceptionally good behavior on important errands could earn her an extra reward ball for the day.
How to Implement the System
Let me be clear that setting up a consequence and reward jar system isn’t for the faint of heart or those who have the inability to follow through. Follow through is imperative. If you’d like, I suggest also reading about how to get the best results from a consequence jar. That post will give you a more in-depth idea of how to make it work for you.
Decide on house rules. Ensure you and your partner agree on the house rules. You both need to be on the same page.
Come up with a list of consequences. What chores or consequences do you want your children to have? I compiled a few ideas from several bloggers (Little Ashwell House had some good, and rather funny, consequences). My apologies to those who I borrowed from and didn’t save to be able to link to.
Decide what rewards you want to offer. Hubby and I determined that an activity out of the home (zoo, water park, Adventure Landing, etc) was preferable over purchasing toys. She earns money with the responsibility chart to buy toys/games/books (and half is saved), so she’s over-stocked on stuff. Our reward system is comprised of two jars – one with craft puffs to transfer into a reward jar. When all reward balls (puffs, marbles, etc) have been emptied into the reward jar, it’s time for your child to select their reward.
Explain to your child(ren) what is expected of them. Go over the house rules as a family. Then, explain that broken rules = pulling a consequence. In order to improve behavior, your children need to know what is expected of them.
Be prepared to tweak the system. I ended up taking the warning consequences out of the jar. Since no reward was given for the day if a consequence was pulled, I found it worked in my favor to give a verbal warning, instead. This gave my daughter the chance to adjust her attitude without pulling a consequence and losing the reward for the day.
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Results of Consequence/Reward Jar system
Adjusting to the new system was challenging for a few days. I had to remind myself to stay calm during problem moments, and immediately resort to the consequence jar. She needed to learn, fast, that bad behavior was going to result in all sorts of consequences. Plus, I was hoping she’d pull one of the ones that required an extra chore around the house. I mean, shouldn’t I benefit from this, too?
When it comes down to it, I believe this was just the system we needed to help improve behavior around here.
Do you want to know what I learned from this experience in the first week?
Click here to read my follow up post.
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