Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rocks and Marbles

At a certain point in the raising of children, the focus shifts away from the negative to the positive.  There's a lot less of, "don't do this" and "don't touch that" to "do this" and "do that."  At ages nine and seven, my kids don't get a lot of discipline, shall we say.  Corrective actions happen less and less frequently, and we were looking for a way to shift our approach toward rewarding the results of their training.  I stumbled upon a 'system' online, and we adapted it for our own uses.  Here's the original post from which I got the idea.

How we do it:  Each child has his or her own color of glass marbles (Kathryn:green, Alex:blue).  Throughout the day, marbles may be earned for a variety of things (the vagueness started getting to us, so our list is as follows:
1.  Complete morning chores before school without being asked.  (1 marble)
2.  Complete bedtime chores before 8:00 p.m. without being asked.  (1 marble)
3.  Do all homeschool without complaint.  (2 marbles)
4.  Get caught doing something nice for someone else (not their chores).  (Reward up to Mom)
5.  Eat breakfast and lunch with a good attitude.  (1 marble per day)

*  On number four, Kathryn began 'doing something nice' for Alex by completing his chores for him.  He was delighted and more than happy to let her 'earn a marble.'  You can see the problem here.  An example from yesterday of 'something nice' was when Kathryn wasn't feeling good, Alex went and got her a blanket and stuffed animal.
*  On number five, this is a big deal for picky eaters.  They truly dislike so many foods.  I don't die on that hill at suppertime, since that is family time.  At supper, they can pick from whatever is on the table.  Sometimes (rarely) that may be just bread and butter.  They haven't died yet.

Each day, they earn marbles and then at night they combine them in a big jar.  This is intentional, as I don't want them 'competing' for goodness.  Rather, they are being told that loving actions benefit the family as a whole and gets us all closer to our goals.  The goals are lines marked on the jar.  As they are reached, preset fun things are done.  It may be pizza night, or a new book they want, or whatever is on their minds at the moment (and approved as appropriately motivating and budget friendly as possible).

On to the rocks.  Rocks are a big deal.  They are given ONLY when a stranger comments on their CHARACTER.  Not their appearance.  This would be, "You are so polite,"  or "You are so kind," etc.  Sometimes, they get close with a "thank you sooo much," but that isn't a rock.  Needless to say, rocks get us a lot closer to our goals and are hard to earn.

This has also allowed us to pull back a little from stronger forms of discipline.  There are times when discipline (I'll leave this up to your biblical imagination- haha!) are needed.  Lies and outright rebellion are the main two no-no's here.  For smaller infractions (for example, yesterday when Alex didn't want to write and I could tell he was goofing off by s-l-o-w-l-y! writing), I pulled a marble out of the jar.

This is working really well for us.  It is a way to reward progress, correct wrongs, build teamwork.  All with an emphasis (I verbally emphasize this to them on a regular basis) on how doing right affects others. 

1 comment:

Nadine Brown said...

Looks and sounds like a great idea! Blessings on you in the important job of parenting. Love Mom B