We've implemented various systems in the past that worked for a while, but over time, they were all unsuccessful. But I think we've finally found one that works for us. We call this our Rupee Jar...
It's very simple... when we catch the kids saying or doing something kind, when they're obedient, or basically when there's any kind of behavior we want to reinforce, the kids earn a rupee to go in the family jar. When it's all filled up, we all celebrate and go on a special outing together!
Here's why I like it:
-The reinforcement is immediate. One dumb idea I had once was to have them choose something out of a treasure box at the end of the day if I felt they had a good day. Um... that's simply ineffective for a 2 or 3 year old! Duh. I quickly found out that it needed to be more immediate so they could learn to associate the reward with the good behavior.
-It fosters family unity. When I first implemented this, each kid had their own jar, and they would earn rupees individually, but I noticed they would constanty compare with each other, and it seemed to create a feeling of competition among them. Now we work together to earn the family reward and we all win! It creates a feeling of love and support, and helps us root for each other and remember that we're all in this together.
-I hear tattling way too often throughout the day, and it drives me nuts. The rule in our home is that you only tattle when someone gets hurt... but there's still a lot of tattling! With this system, there's happy tattling for a change. I hear, "Mommy! Benny just helped Jakey put his shoes away!" And I get to say, "YAY! Go get a rupee Benny!" So I think it helps teach the kids to look for the good in others.
-It's a system that's simple enough to be successful. When the kids earn their rupee, they get to put it in the jar themselves... even Jakey can do that. With sticker charts, I would have to stop what I was doing several times throughout the day, and put the sticker on for the little ones, which turned out to be unrealistic and too difficult for me to continue.- The final reward is family togetherness. This week the kids chose to go to ChuckECheese, and when they fill it up again, we're going camping on the beach. Instead of treats, toys, or money, they learn that the real treasures in life involve creating happy memories with loved ones. :)