Thursday, November 4, 2010

More Than Just Jam Jars - Rewarding Positive Behavior

Meet our new friends - the happy face and sad face jars.  I know we could have come up with more clever names - but we keep it simple around here.  Isn't simplicity the latest fad anyway?!
We use these jars the same way a teacher would in a classroom.  Each jar starts out half-way full.  When the kids are cooperating well together, we pour some beads from the sad face jar into the happy face jar.  And, of course, when the kids are fighting or speaking inappropriately to one another, we pour some beads from the happy face jar into the sad face jar.  I like that the kids have to work together to be rewarded!
When the happy face jar gets filled up, the kids get a special reward such as a bonus cartoon (cartoon time is earned by doing age-appropriate responsibilities), a special treat or a special trip somewhere.  A teacher friend of mine bequeathed these jars to me on her way out of Prague.  She used them to reward her two kids when they cooperated well with each other.  We use these almost daily and at least once a week the kids earn their reward (or not, if the sad face jar is filled - then the kids get a talkin').
I keep this clay heart my son made in front of the jars to remind the kids what cooperating is all about! These little jam jars are so simple, but they work.  This would also be good for just one child.  It could be used to work on a certain character lesson you really want to teach - like communicating appropriately, being patient, helping without being asked, etc.

You should hear the screams of joy (I can deal with that kind of screaming) when that happy face jar gets filled up!  Does a mommy's heart good!


  1. Great idea! I think I might try this for potty training. I have a five year old, who still is having some difficulties.