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Just catch ’em doing something right.
I believe in positive reinforcement. It’s not the only discipline strategy I use but I do believe that when I’m looking for the good, I find the good. And when I’m looking for the negative, I find the negative.
I stumbled across a reward system about a year ago that seemed to align with my positive reinforcement philosophy. I wish I could remember to whom I should credit this (if you know, please leave a comment!) but the idea is like this….
Step One: Get some beads or marbles or other small, smooth objects.
Step Two: Get a small jar and mark a “victory line ” in marker.
Step Three: Catch your kid doing something right. In our house, it goes a little something like this:
Hey Peanut, did you just share that toy with Pumpkin without her even asking? Nice work! Get a bead.
I asked you to clear your plate and you did it without complaining or waiting for me to ask you again. Nice work! Grab a bead.
Example 3 (a.k.a my personal favorite)
You stayed in your bed all night; that’s one bead. You quietly played in your room when you woke up; that’s another bead. You waited until the clock said 7am to wake Mommy up; that’s another bead. Get three beads! Way to Go!
The genius of this plan is that I can use it for any behavior I want to reinforce. It doesn’t matter if I catch her being kind or honest or helpful or obedient….I can reward her for it all.
Step Four: Once Peanut has reached the victory line in the jar, she gets to pick a reward.
Just this last week Peanut asked if we could add a new reward to the list. She wanted to have a lunch date at school with B or I.
<Let me just pause here to swoon at how sweet that is.>
I told her that a lunch date is a GREAT idea. I knew B would be able to get to school that week, so I told Peanut that he would join her. And I suggested that she write him a real invitation.
And this, my friends, is what she wrote (with no spelling help from me)….
Dad I want / you to come to / me for / lunch at / school / Love, / (Peanut)
And that lunch made for one happy Daddy and Peanut.
Your Turn: What parenting strategy is working for you these days?
I love your comments! Feel free to leave one below.