Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Behavior Jars

I've been a little MIA due to being ill for a few days and just trying to deal with the issues mentioned in my previous post. However I feel that I have come up with a doable solution. Hopefully one that works.
Good Behavior Jars. It's a twist on the chore chart/jar idea. I decided to try positive reinforcement for good behavior and continue with consequences for bad behavior. I dug out some mason jars from my craft room and Mason helped me decorate them, choosing which color ribbon he wanted and where he wanted it. I think I have a future crafter in the making as they came out really nice. I decided to fill the jars with stones/rocks because that is something Mason is into (collecting rocks and throwing them in ponds) and felt he'd be excited to have a new way of collecting them. We then had to sit down and decide what behaviors would be rewarded; rendering a stone put into his jar, and what behaviors would be punished, therefore resulting in a stone being removed and sitting in time out. When his jar is filled he gets a reward. In his case he gets a car (those .97 ones from Target. I figure it's pretty affordable if he ends up filling his jar every few days).

Rewarded Behavior
1. cleaning up/putting toys away without being prompted or after only being told once
2. playing nicely/sharing
3. staying seated for a whole meal
4. holding parents hand when crossing street or walking in parking lots
5. peeing in potty (when prompted by parent and not crying about it)

Things that earn double stones
1. informing us he has to pee and actually peeing in potty and not his pull up
2. pooping in potty
3. doing something nice for someone without asking
4. helping around the house/doing chores (on his level of course)

Punished Behavior
1. throwing toys
2. hitting/kicking/biting
3. disturbing/being mean to Sophie
4. talking back
5. throwing tantrums
6. after 3 warnings continuing with unwanted behavior/not listening to parents
7. swearing (damn it)
8. touching computers/Sophie's swing & bouncer

It may seem as if there are way more behaviors under the punishment category. This is because I don't want to reward Mason for every little thing. While I think he should always be polite; saying "please" and "thank you", should obey us the first time, and go to bed without it taking 2 hours; I want to focus on the big issues. The things we are constantly in battle over. We do work on everything with him but as my husband always reminds me, you gotta let the little things go and focus on the behavior you want changed. Where it makes the biggest impact for us all to be happier.

So far it is going well. He has half his jar filled. It takes 20 stones to fill. Though Fred made a good point that possibly 20 is too much. Because things have sort of gone back to being chaotic and misbehaving. So 10 is probably a better number to reach. Also as he gets better at filling up the jar I think we might do a trade-in value. So many stones equals a certain reward. Like 5 stones= ice cream, 6 stones= eating out, 7 stones= trip to any place Mason wants to go (within reason), etc. Something along those lines. We'll give it a few more weeks to see how it is going. I'm trying to be optimistic.

If you didn't notice I also have a jar. It's the really big one. Figured it could be used as a way to show Mason that mommy is working on her bad behavior as well. Every time I handle a tantrum/bad situation calmly without yelling or losing my cool. I earn a stone. If I yell, scream, throw a fit myself. I lose a stone. Simple. I don't necessarily earn a reward. The only reward would be knowing that I accomplished a goal, changed my attitude and therefore made it less stressful and hopefully everyone more happy. As of the picture I had earned one stone. Yay! At the time of this post I had lost my stone. Boo. So I'm working on it.

I also feel that it will help if I focus more on spending time with Mason. While yes, I agree that I do need time for myself. I do believe that is the number one thing they discuss in both Scream-Free Parenting and 1-2-3 Magic. Both excellent books. Ones I should probably re-read and keep on my night stand for daily reference. I think that he needs a little more attention paid to him. So I will be on my computer less, updating my facebook status and tweets, which also sadly means less blog posts. While I am trying to gain a reader base and following, my family is most important. Besides, they are the ones I most often post entries about and if I don't spend time with them how am I going to get material for my blog? So as I finish up this post I am heading off to play with my son.
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