What's this you ask?
As you know we have a rambunctious and often "too.smart.for.own.good" 3 year old. She is a fierce negotiator, so in an effort to have more bribery battles end in a "win-win" scenerio, we decided to give this a try. My friend Cheryl told me about this concept a few months ago! We had been using "time-outs" (and don't get me wrong, we still do when it's necessary. Like for example when McKenzie RUNS across the living room holding her baby sister by her neck and DROPS her on the floor not.so.nicely. so on & so forth - uggggh) But this seemed too "negative" to do too often, with only the promise of discipline.
We also tried the sleep fairy approach, but this seemed too positive, with only the promise of rewards.
The Warm & Fuzzy jar teaches McKenzie many lessons. Right from wrong. Consequences for your actions. The value of a "dollar" (or in the case a cotton ball).
It's a good balance of positive & negative reinforcement. We are making promises of something we can deliver and are sticking to it! Provides something tangible that even a 3-year old can comprehend. Allows her to make choices and learn from said choices.
Here's how it works.
You start with an empty jar. A see through so she can track her efforts daily. Keep it in a highly visible location. We keep ours on the kitchen counter, with a bag of cotton balls near by. Reward her with a "warm & fuzzy" each time she does something positive or helpful. For example, lets the dog in or out, helps her baby sister, finishes her meal, goes potty without having to be asked, clears or sets the table, hangs up her coat on hook in mudroom/stores shoes in cubby, displays good behavior when Mommy asks it of her, etc...you get the picture.
Now...if she misbehaves, does not listen, is rude or impolite, does not eat her food as requested, kicks the dog (seriously), temper-tantrums before bed-time, whines, etc...a warm & fuzzy goes OUT! I always give her the opportunity to "correct" her action prior to my taking a warm & fuzzy out. By giving her a warning/threat. Works about 90% of the time. But yes, sometimes, her bad attitude gets the best of her and the cotton ball levels goes down.
So what's the reward? Once the jar is filled to the top...she gets a special prize. Sometimes big, usually small. But she doesn't care. She KNOWS it's special and is super proud of herself because she knows she EARNED it and DESERVES it!
The Warm & Fuzzy Jar has really come in handy for me lately. We've been busy and on the go this past week. I have pulled out the "big-guns" and made promises of "TWO warm & fuzzy's" should McKenzie behave appropriately, etc...
- I had to bring the girls along to my Volleyball game the other day. I was dreading how this could have gone, but Little Miss McKenzie sat still at the table and wrote in her letter book all by herself the ENTIRE time, just like I asked her to (oh and her baby sis was, of course, a perfect angel and sat in her car-seat the whole time - we have not yet had to resort to bribery with this one yet).
- I also had to take the girls to a meeting up at church (I was volunteering for an upcoming concert) - and they both did well!
- I also kept them out late after gymnastics, to run errands and purchase items for the concert, they did awesome! we shopped way past their bedtime.
- McKenzie was also a good girl and smiled pretty when we had to go have our family portraits taken for the church directory last week (you NEVER know how that could go!) went off without a hitch...phew.
- McKenzie has also been VERY good when Macy's Physical & Speech therapists come over to the house.
- McKenzie was very well-behaved and minimally disruptive when we had little 10-day old Baby Colby over to the house for a photo-shoot. She played nicely and was very hospitable to his big brother Nathan.
So, thanks "WARM & FUZZY" jar for helping keep the peace in the Harnisch House one cotton ball at a time :-)
McKenzie - we are very proud of you...keep it up!
update since our last "canceling February" post....I think I may have put too high of expectations on March. What I mistakenly thought would bring some semblances of Spring, has only brought freezing temps and SNOW on this 7th day of March. oh well...there's always April! :-)