Is it true that that you can improve child behavior in three simple effective steps? Yes, it! I call it the Stone Jar Reward System. It’s super easy to set up and kids will participate (willingly, I might add). Please read the update to this post towards the bottom of the page.
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The stone jar reward system is a system about recognizing and rewarding positive behavior. With four children fighting for attention despite how much one-on-one time they get from my husband and me, I needed an instant gratification system that they could see and have a visual reminder to behave in a positive manner.
With each act of good behavior they are rewarded a stone. An ‘act of good behavior’ could be anything you define as good or positive behavior. With each level reached on their stone jar, they are further rewarded with one prize from that level’s set of prizes. Once you reach the top, empty the stones back into your stone ‘bank’ and start over.
Key element here –
DO NOT TAKE STONES FROM THEIR JAR FOR ‘BAD’ BEHAVIOR!!
No matter how frustrated or angry you get, do not take from their jar. They worked for that stone, and taking it from them will only lower their moral about the rewards, backpedal your success, and lessen the system’s effectiveness. Use other disciplinary actions for their negative behavior.
Here are the three simple steps to a successful stone jar reward system:
- Get stonesand one 16 ounce jarper child. (I even have one for my nephew during the times he stays with us.)
- Establish prizes for three levels – first line is level 1 prizes, second line is level 2 prizes, and third, or top line, is level 3 prizes.
- Implement the system.
Yes, it is that easy and it is effective!
Details for step 1 –
Put your stones in a container that will be your ‘bank’ of stones. I recycled a grapefruit container for my ‘bank’. For each child’s jar, indicate each level using these Avery color coding labels .
Details for step 2 –
For the prizes, either have tangible prizes the kids can see and be reminded of their instant prize for good behavior and/or have a list of prizes they can choose from. Here’s a free printable to make a list. The list can include a trip to get frozen yogurt, a special trip to the park with a parent, one-on-one time at the library for story time, or whatever else you want to reward that is not tangible to put in a basket.
The prizes can consist of whatever you want it to be. We have a Five Below store, so my husband and I took the kids to the store and asked them what they would want to have from the store (at this stage they did not know of the stone jar reward system) and they each filled a small basket. We had previously agreed on a spending limit, so my husband and I sifted through the goodies and met our spending limit. Once we got home, we then categorized the prizes into the three levels.
Continue to add to the prizes each time you shop – a little reward here and a little reward there. I even add gift cards to the level 3 prizes using the gift cards I earn from Swagbucks and other ways I earn extra money. Also look for prizes on the clearance rack at Target and other places you shop.
Details for step 3 –
This is the most exciting step, in my opinion. First, explain what the stone jar reward system is and how it works. Emphasize that stones are NOT allowed to be taken from their jars – no matter what! Print it out and put near the stone jars as a constant reminder. Second, place the jars and prizes where they can see them as a constant reminder of the reward for good behavior. Third, and last, start rewarding them immediately!
It does take time to remember to reward good behavior, so in the beginning, I rewarded each and every act of good behavior I witnessed. Once the whole family got the hang of it, we didn’t do it as often. For example, if I asked one of the kids to help set the dinner table, and their immediate response is, Will I get a stone if I do it, I don’t do it. I want my kids to know we are a family and help one another. We don’t do it just to get a stone. Once they understood that, the kids would do it without the anticipation of a stone.
Each of our kids earn at least one stone per day, and earn prizes regularly.
After implementing this stone jar reward system in January, each of their behaviors has drastically improved. I’m very happy with this reward system, and the kids are, too!
Update: My husband and I have decided to incorporate their chore charts into the stone jar reward system. Each child has daily ‘must do’ chores, but listed under those chores are ‘bonus’ chores. For each ‘bonus’ chore completed, a stone is earned. Catch – bonus chores are like daily chores – they must be done that day to get the credit (stone).
Do you have a reward system or thoughts to add about the stone jar reward system?
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