03 February 2010

warm fuzzies.

A few years ago, my friend Jillaire shared with me a wonderful parenting idea. I implemented the system soon after with H, and we've just started it with J as well. I thought I would share it with all of you, because it can be very effective.

Pictured above is H's "Warm Fuzzy Jar." Whenever H does something nice of her own free will, we give her a "warm fuzzy," which is just a colorful pom-pom. She then puts the warm fuzzy in a jar in her room. When this jar is filled, she can redeem it for a prize. We usually make the prize something we can all enjoy together--bowling, a trip to the zoo, lunch at a restaurant, etc.

The pom-pom is simply a tangible "thank you" to acknowledge a child's kindness. She cannot receive one for doing something she has been asked to do, nor can she ask for a warm fuzzy. "Mom, if I put your plate on the counter can I have a warm fuzzy?" Nope. No deal. It has to be something she does just to be nice, like reading a story to her little brother, or setting out forks and napkins when I'm hurriedly preparing dinner...something that makes us feel "warm and fuzzy" inside. Oh, and once a warm fuzzy is given, it cannot be taken away. (Except after a full jar is redeemed for a prize. Then the jar is emptied back into the pom pom bag.)

It has definitely helped H see that helping others can make her feel good. It also helps remind Hubs and me to recognize her good deeds. Such a great idea. Thanks again, Jillaire!

For the record, here's what Jillaire had to say about her original method: 
For some of your readers--we actually use it for our TWO kids. They share a jar, so the warm fuzzies are primarily in recognition of them getting along with each other, but they can also be rewarded individually for nice things they do.
Now that J has his own jar, I can see how one jar for two kids would work. H and J often get warm fuzzies at the same time for playing well together. I just love this idea.

10 comments:

Amnah said...

This is such a great idea. I'm going to try this with my daughter. Thanks for sharing! (Saw this on Apartment Therapy.)

Marisa@make*happy said...

Good luck with it Amnah! Thanks for visiting. :)

Kristin said...

Saw this idea on Tip Junkie and I love it!! Getting ready to go buy my pom poms tomorrow!! Such a great thing to start at a young age!

Nellie said...

I too saw this idea on Tip Junkie. . . what a great way for the kids to see your appreciation for wonderful behavior! I too will implement the warm fuzzy jar with my kids asap!

Marisa said...

Thanks for visiting, Kristin and Nellie!

bigeyedchick said...

I just have a few questions...How big is the jar you use and what size pom poms are you using? Approx. how many pom poms does it typically take to fill a jar?
Great idea, thanks!

Marisa said...

bigeyedchick: The jar we use is an old Classico spaghetti sauce jar. The pom poms are 3/4"-1" in diameter...whatever came in the giant multi-pack from the dollar store! I'm not sure how many pom poms it takes to fill the jar. My guess would be about 50.

bigeyedchick said...

Thanks Marisa! This is a great idea and we have started using it with our 4 children; ages 12, 9, 6 & 4.
Thanks again!
(saw this on Tip Junkie)

Anonymous said...

I love "warm fuzzies" I have used them as a whole classroom reward system right back when I started teaching. 1 great big jar and cotton wool balls...worked when I taught Year 5 and Year 3 in the UK and then over in US when I taught 1st grade and then 3rd Grade. having the jar is obviously a visual stimulus and the team work involved in filling it up to get class rewards was great! I used to have a story about warm fuzzies that would introduce the concept to the class (I think you can google the story now)
Anyway...I am glad I came accross this post...cannot believe I haven't tried it at home with my four year old and three year old...we are trying to focus a little more on playing nicely together and sharing...so off to get a jar and cotton wool balls!!

Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan said...

The biggest parenting challenge we've had lately is that M and M play really well for a few minutes and it quickly turns into a screaming battle. I love the warm fuzzy idea...especially since they both love to collect things!!!

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