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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.

I really never knew what these things were for....until now.


Step Two Get a small jar and mark a “victory line ” in marker.

I wanted to make filling the jar a challenge but I didn't want it to take forever.


Step Three:  Catch your kid doing something right.   In our house, it goes a little something like this:


Example 1: 

Hey Peanut, did you just share that toy with Pumpkin without her even asking?  Nice work!  Get a bead.


Example 2:

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.

We brainstormed these beforehand but review them occasionally.


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)….


The Sweetest Invitation Ever

The Sweetest Invitation Ever



Dad I want /  you to come to / me for / lunch at / school /  Love, / (Peanut)


And that lunch made for one happy Daddy and Peanut.

She got a special visitor at school. He got corn dogs. Everybody wins!


Your Turn:  What parenting strategy is working for you these days?



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