Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The best way to encourage good behaviour in kids (in my opinion)

I was chatting to Kirsten on twitter about the marble jar
and I thought I would write about it here too.
I have tried every single thing to get my kids behave
and I've been doing it for the last TWENTY YEARS,
yes TWENTY YEARS people, sigh.

I have tried every sticker chart known to man,
I have tried velcro job charts, I have tried time out,
the naughty chair, I have tried smacking, I have tried a LOT of shouting,
I have tried, well everything.

But the best thing is the marble jar.
It's the one thing that consistently has worked for me when ever I have used it.

After talking to Kirsten, I decided to try it again,
so I went to the $2 to get marbles, but I couldn't find them so I got these 
pom poms instead $2 a packet. I stuck a bit of washi tape on two clean jam jars
and I was all set to go. 

This is how the marble jar works.
When you catch the child being good, you give them a marble (or pompom)
and when they are bad you take one out. Easy.
When the jar is full the child gets a reward.
I remember that I would say this reward is going to be a sock reward,
when it was full they got to chose a pair of socks,
or a magazine or whatever I decided it was going to be.

To be honest, a jar is way to big, we used to use egg cups because they held
about 10 marbles which was perfect.

The whole thing works so well for a few reasons,
the best one is that you start looking for good behaviour,
"I'm so glad you didn't scratch your brother's eyes out when he said you were stupid"
and that actually helps you, because its way to easy to focus on the bad stuff.

Another thing is that you are encouraging good behaviour,
which all the books say is what you should be doing
but which is notoriously difficult to do, or is that just me??

If you had asked me I would have said my kids weren't giving me any grief
but since I put the marble jar up yesterday I realised we had slipped into some
horrid patterns of whinging and nagging.

There's been busy traffic of pompoms rushing in and out of the jar
and I think that the little jars are going to work their magic again.


  1. We love the marble jar too, except mine was buttons and then I had to steal the jar because I needed it for a DIY project!! LOL! Must get into it again

  2. Deb this might be JUST what we need at the moment, thank you!

  3. What a great idea. What age did you start your kids on this, would it work with my 3 year old?

  4. haha we have the pebble jars in our house... genius!

  5. haha we have the pebble jars in our house... genius!

  6. Perfect idea and with a three year old it will work too!!!!!!

  7. i had to chuckle at the pom poms rushing in and out of the jar! :o)

  8. I think we might need two of these at our place, too!

  9. For my work, I have been attending these training classes for behavior assessments/interventions and several times now, we have had this wonderful speaker teach the group. She has given us the statistics about how much more frequently teachers comment on the negative rather than the positive.... of course, I can't find them now... but your post made me think of this, about how we tend to focus on the neg at times and sometimes, just noticing and pointing out the positives can make a change in behavior.

  10. The boys have a marble jar in their classrooms....and at home we started a bead board.....same principal except you slide them back and forth. We have a distinctive bead in the middle and the end, which mark $2.50 and $5 the first to get to the end for the week, gets to choose the snacks and movie for the friday night.....and its being working a treat! it's changed my attitude too, as you said, pointing out the positives really does make a difference :))

  11. Amen! And thanks for the reminder. Hugs!


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