I think every parent goes through those times when you just aren’t quite sure how to get your children to listen. Parenting is hard.
Lanae is actually an extremely good girl. I can say that because Owen is a little more challenging… so I know that we got really lucky with Lanae. But even good kids, have bad days. And sometimes bad weeks… And really, it’s an ongoing process.
When Lanae was just barely two, we got to a point where we had some days that Lanae spent so much time on time-out and it felt like all of our interactions were negative. So we decided that we needed to find a way to reinforce the positive so that we could all be happier.
That’s when we started Lanae’s Random Acts of Kindness chart and had Lanae earn her iPad time. This system worked extremely well for us until I wanted to start using the iPad for educational things and so I would give her the iPad for activities even if she hadn’t earned her iPad time. It was too hard to distinguish between two different kinds of iPad time. So… we ended up taking a break from the RAOK chart.
Which was great, because now I use the iPad more often and under different circumstances. Still very limited amount of time and only specific apps.
However, we were back to more time-outs and started having more frequent bad days because of all the negative attention.
As parents we knew we had to figure out a way to bring the positive back into our lives!
And The Gem System was born.
I love this because it is kind of like an allowance for little kids. Except kids don’t really understand or even need money at this age. But they are highly motivated by one-on-one time and special experiences they can look forward to.
The Gem System allows us to reward positive behaviors. But it is a little different than her RAOK chart because she also loses gems for negative behaviors.
There are certain behaviors that are like an allowance, she knows that if she performs a task up to our expectations, she will get a set number of gems.
Setting the Table = 3 gems
Getting dressed without throwing a tantrum (because this is something that is really hard for her)= 2 gems
Cleaning quickly and efficiently during the 15 minute clean up = 3 gems
However, Scott and I randomly give her gems for other thoughtful, kind and responsible actions as well because we want her to know that we notice, love and appreciate her positive behavior.
For example, if she chooses to share a toy to help Owen be happy, I might give her a gem. Not every time, though, because I don’t want her to expect a reward for being nice and sharing. Sometimes I might just say thank you or give her a smile and thumbs up!
I think its important for kids to not have an expectation of a reward every time they do something nice. However, a system like this seems to help teach responsibility and does reinforce positive behavior.
Now, you are probably wondering what good are the gems for… This is the fun part! Every time she fills her jar all the way up she gets a GEM PARTY!!!
We have loved having gem parties and we make them a big deal. There will almost always be some kind of treat to go along with an activity that we do together. So far we have had a special popcorn and movie night where Lanae got to stay up late with mom and dad. We had an amazing lego party and our most recent was a Museum party!
She usually earns one special gem party a month and they are always a blast!
If you missed our Random Acts of Kindness post, you should definitely check it out too… This is how we introduce independent technology time to our kids as a reward!
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