Friday, November 18, 2011
The Rock Vase. Encouraging, Supporting, and Celebrating Gratitude, Love, and Positive Behavior.
Incentive jars are nothing new. I've seen the marble and token jars in classrooms that are used to encourage positive behavior and help with management and I've heard of parents using this same system with their kids. I've always been a sticker chart girl myself but it is time to try something new!
What? Our Rock Vase
Why? I'm noticing more and more fighting, arguing, four-year old tantrums, two-year old hitting and not listening, and just an overall need for some positive reinforcement and goal setting. My hopes are that these kids of mine will take charge of their own behavior, choices, and attitude. And they will feel good about working towards a goal.
How? I want this vase to be about more than just correcting or managing behavior. I also like the idea of using it to embrace and demonstrate a spirit of gratitude. Whenever my kids are "caught" making great choices that demonstrate that they are working towards their goals and showing love, consideration, and care for themselves, me, and each other, they will be able to put a rock in the vase. In addition to getting rocks for working towards goals and demonstrating positive behavior, they will each get a "gratitude rock" at the start of the day and they can put it in the vase after they share something specific that they are thankful for. We talked about "cracking open" generic statements like "I'm thankful for my mom" and instead saying something specific that they are thankful for like "I'm thankful that my mom cuddled with me in bed last night".
Purpose? As the kids see their vase filling up with gratitude, love, and personal growth they will hopefully feel pride and motivation to keep improving!
What Next? Once the jar is full we will choose something FUN to do together as a family. We won't get prizes or "stuff" but instead share an experience that will be memorable for everyone. Perhaps this will be an extra family movie night or going to the movies. Maybe even a trip to my least favorite place....Chuck e Cheese.
So far? It felt so great to see each kid holding on to their rocks this morning and expressing gratitude before they put their rock in the vase. It was beautiful to see their little rocks start to accumulate. So much more than just rocks...they are symbols of gratitude, love, and positive behavior. And by keeping the vase on the table, it is visible to us all day and we are reminded of our goals, gratitude and love!
Getting Started: If you want to do something like this too, it is EASY!
1. Go to the dollar store and get a vase and a bag of rocks.
2. Set some goals with your kids. Keep it small. Maybe even just choose one big thing for them to work on. For my four year old it is simply to start having a more loving attitude and controlling her anger.
3. Practice gratitude daily and encourage them to think of specific things. Even as simple as "I'm thankful for the warm car this morning."
4. Notice positive behavior OFTEN. If you go too long before catching your kids working on their goal, they can get off track and get discouraged. When we recognize their efforts and celebrate in their small steps, they take pride and ownership of their choices and it is exciting for them.
5. Keep the rock vase visible so everyone can see their progress.
More about running and nutrition for runners coming soon. I'm having an excellent running week and finding this new treadmill to be the best thing that ever happened to this running mama's training. So much time has opened up and the time I have with kids has been more quality because of it. I've even been getting myself up and running by 6:30 for my first run of the day!
Happy Friday! Good luck to those of you who are racing. I'm so excited to be a virtual spectator.