The Recognition Jar

I view motherhood as the ultimate science experiment. My “test subjects” change in the course of months, days and sometimes hours. I find the birth order and gender play a huge role and I find it extremely interesting seeing it all play out.

Behavior problems and discipline go hand in hand with raising kids. I’ve had my fair share of “banging my head against the wall” moments when I just don’t know what to do. I have brought these “special” moments to my pediatrician and she always handed me a book or the name of an author I have to read. I’ve read and I’ve read and I’ve read. Sometimes their suggestions work with one child but not the other. Every kid is different. The mother knows the child best. My suggestion is arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible and go with your gut instinct. If one thing doesn’t work, try another.

We’ve had success with something in our house this past year so I thought I would share it with you! It’s called the “Recognition Jar.” My husband and I got the idea when my daughter’s school implemented something similar. At school, if the teachers found a student doing something positive they received a “Red Bird Recognition.” At the end of the week, all of the recognitions were put in a box and a few were randomly picked to receive a prize or lunch on the stage with a friend.

At home we put this simple “science experiment” into motion by getting an empty jar and my canister of buttons. The premise was… for every “good” behavior they had they got to put a button in the jar. When the jar was full we would do something fun as a family.

My five year old no longer screamed when he got his hair washed after being promised a button if he remained calm. (We no longer have to give buttons for this…it was just a bad habit we had to break.)

Both kids received buttons for making their beds and clearing dishes. (We no longer give buttons for this…they automatically do these now without reward.)

Right now we are currently working on eating over their dinner plate so they don’t get any food on the floor…sometimes they get a button…sometimes they don’t!

This system worked in so many areas where “time outs” and nagging didn’t.

The jar typically takes us 2 months to fill up and their rewards are things like McDonald’s Play Land, trip to the Dollar Store to pick out one item, or a night out for ice cream (obviously, you need to pick what will motivate YOUR child).

Now if only I can get my husband on board with the “Recognition Jar.” There’s a few behaviors I would like to turn around with him…putting the twisty ties back on the bread bags and turning his socks right side out before putting them in the laundry basket. I have a feeling his motivation will take more than a trip to McDonald’s Play Land!


Our Recognition Jar



7 responses

    • Good luck! Currently going through the haircut ordeal with my almost 2 year old! I can’t keep him still….I get a few hairs snipped off and call it a day! His 2 year old pictures are going to be awesome!

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