For those of you who don't already know, I was a teacher...an elementary school teacher more specifically...before I became a stay-at-home mom. When I was in school to get my Master's in Elementary Education, the program relied heavily on methods of positive discipline. In essence, we were taught to ignore negative behavior, reward positive behavior, and thus modify behavior.
Well, a couple days into teaching I quickly learned that this rosy outlook was not necessarily going to work. Frankly, sometimes negative behavior has to be punished. And I have maintained that approach at home with the boys, mainly by using our time out chair (you can check it out here if you want).
But last night as the boys were taking their bath, something miraculous happened. Colton and Levi both love this random empty bottle of bubbles they fight over constantly in the bath. Actually, Colton usually steals the bottle from Levi, Levi cries, and then I force Colton to give it back. Well, back to that miracle...Colton was playing with aforementioned empty bottle of bubbles when all of a sudden he turned to Levi and said "here Levi" and handed him the bubble bottle. I about squealed with glee.
And then it dawned on me that if I wanted Colton to continue doing those kind of nice things, I needed to somehow make a big deal about it. Not big deal like buy him a toy every time because honestly he should be doing it, but somehow show him we really like that kind of behavior. So this is what I came up with...
In my classroom, I used to use marble jars on each table to reward the kids for doing the right thing. So why not apply the same concept at home? I told Colton about his new jar, told him he would get a marble anytime he did something nice (shares, uses his manners, follows mommy's directions), and that when the marble jar is all filled up he can pick out something special. I don't know if he really got the concept, but thus far, he seems to have gotten pretty excited when he got to put a marble in.
He also has been able to tell me why he got the marbles ("I shared," "I listened to mommy"). So, I guess only time will tell if this proves to an effective behavior tool for him, but 24 hours in, I'm feeling optimistic!