I introduced the good behavior (or rather, good choices) rock jar last week and it has been working really well for my 2 1/2 year old, who is just starting to understand delayed gratification. I allowed Logan to decorate his own rocks and every time he makes a good choice, he gets a rock to put in his jar. We are starting with a small behavior jar at first, to keep him engaged and excited about it. The prize once he fills his jar is a trip to the dollar store, where he gets to pick out 1 thing (usually stickers). We decided not to make this a punishment jar, so we do not take rocks out of his jar for misbehavior as I don’t feel like a bad choice necessarily wipes out a previous good choice.
I have found that this jar is a great reminder to give my child constant positive reinforcement throughout the day, which in turn has cut down on the amount of time I need to discipline him. One of my online friends asked if I thought if something like a rock jar encourages people pleasing, basically only doing things to please other people. She brings up a good point. Too little people pleasing and you are creating a narcissist, too much and you are creating a doormat. This parenting job is tough. I believe that you can still teach boundaries and self-worth at the same time as doing something like a rock jar. I also think it depends on the child. Logan is a fiercely strong-willed child with excellent boundaries for a 2 year old, the rock jar method is perfect for this type of child. This is also a method that we will continue to evaluate and see if it fits in with our parenting philosophy and family values. For now, it’s working and my favorite parenting advice is “just do what works”.
Activity: Behavior Rock Jar
Q Tips or Sponge Brush
Allow your child to paint his rocks using tempera paint and Q Tips or a sponge brush. Allow rocks to dry before placing them inside of a jar. Explain to your child that he will receive a rock in his jar for good choices. Encourage your child with positive reinforcement and when he makes a good choice, reward him with a rock. Set a prize for when the jar is full, such as an ice cream date or a set of stickers. You may have to explain the concept a few times.
Tot School Tuesday Co-host: Kara of Mine for the Making (visit her blog for preschool aged activities)
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