Parenting toddlers can be frustrating and near impossible at times. Many days are riddled with negative thoughts and associations regarding their behavior (and your parenting) and quite frankly, I’ve had enough.
Today I’m sharing a positive parenting technique that we‘re implementing with our son Mason (3) to reward good behavior and hopefully prevent negative (and in our case, physical) behavior, before it begins.
We’re hoping this new approach will prove to be more effective than negative, reactive responses, such as punishment (losing a toy) and time-outs, which are not working in our case.
In short, we are using a glass jar with colored cotton balls as a visual representation of positive behavior (behavior free from hitting, pushing, pulling and kicking).
Prior to entering a social situation, such as a play date, birthday party, and even while at home, we will encourage Mason to exhibit “nice hands” by showing him the jar and reminding him that if he plays appropriately, he gets to add a new ball.
Upon filling the jar (after several positive experiences), Mason will then be rewarded with a new toy of his choosing, from the reward basket that he helped to fill.
The hope is that the visual reminder of the jar, combined with the motivation to earn a new toy, will out-weigh his impulse to exhibit physical behavior with his peers.
In place of the physical behavior we will continue to encourage Mason to use his words to express excitement, anger, etc.
Only time will tell if this approach works for our family but we‘re excited and encouraged!
Similar reward systems can also be adapted for other behaviors and actions, such as listening skills, potty training and even the completion of everyday chores.
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