Being a mom is hard work. Parenting small children is always an adventure in disciplining, leading, correcting and teaching. I am always adjusting and trying new things to help encourage positive behavior with my boys.
I want to share with you our current behavior management system. We have been doing the marble system for a few weeks now and it has been going well. I used this a few times when I was a classroom teacher… and decided to pull this method out of my dusty teachers brain to use with my children. It is working! For us.
How does the marble behavior management system work?
Each time you notice your child make a POSITIVE choice, you acknowledge and reward him by having him add a marble to his jar.
Each time you notice your child make a POOR choice, you acknowledge the choice by having him remove a marble from his jar.
The kicker with this behavior management system (as with all systems) is consistency. You must be consistent with your rewards and punishments.
A Jar (or something to put the earned marbles in)
Consistency from the parent in charge
What are marble worthy actions?
Each family will have their own actions that they deem marble worthy. In our family, below are a few examples of how my children can earn and lose marbles.
Ways to Earn Marbles
Saying Yes Ma’am or Yes Sir
Using their manners (please, thank you, you are welcome, excuse me)
Listening and acting the first time being asked.
Doing their chores.
Over all, generally smart choices that are caught when they are not expecting others to see.
Ways to Lose Marbles
Yelling. Fighting. Arguing. Disrespect. Defiance.
Ugly words. Bad words. Hateful and hurtful words.
Having to be asked multiple times.
Hurting their brother.
Overall, general poor choices fall in this category.
What happens when their jar is full?
The boys and I have worked out an agreement that when their jar is full, they will get $5. This is a great motivator because they are already deciding what treasure they will purchase with their big money. Having a goal for their hard work is a great motivator (for my boys) to fill their jars and not lose any marbles.
We have been using this behavior management system for a few weeks. The boys are very receptive and eager to earn (and not lose) their marbles. When in public or even at home, when a poor choice is noticed, I just need to simply say marble… and I have their attention quickly. They understand. They usually quickly adjust their behavior.
As with all things in life, and most definitely in parenting, consistency is key. I am not perfect as a mom, and often I feel that need a marble jar too to keep me accountable for my own actions. I find that rewarding my children for their positive choices (instead of only focusing on their poor choices) is a great method. It works for us.