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.