Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marble Madness

{Jonathan earned 75 marbles to "buy" a game for his PSP - marbles have monetary value}

Around our house, we have experimented with various methods of discipline, mostly trying to go the "positive reinforcement" route. The problem with kids is you constantly have to stay on top of the situation. {HMM} Go figure.

After talking with my sister-in-law [sil] about their current reward system, I decided to research doing it ourselves, taking into account all the things that would make it a success in our house.
Every household is different. Every parent is different. Even parents combined have a different parenting style than when attempting it solo. The same goes with kids. Each kid is different. They often have different motivations and even levels of motivations.

In our house we have four very different age ranges - middle school, elementary, preschool and toddler (which I won't even cover since Drew is still too little to participate).

The challenge has been trying to come up with one central system that they all can benefit from. I know some families have certain systems for older kids and younger kids. I'm the go the path of least resistance gal. If I can get it all accomplished in one streamlined manner, I'm on board with it!

So, I present to you our version of the marble system. Take it and use it for yourself if you want. Change it up and tailor it to suit the needs for your family.

To prevent misuse and abuse of the marble system, each kiddo has their own colored jar and even their own colored marbles. I got mine at Target. You can find them at any craft store.

Put together a binder filled with all the expectations and possible rewards they can accumulate. Things that are more difficult for one child may earn more marbles than the child who has no problem with said chore/goal (for example, Paige can earn more marbles for going straight to bed the first time. Ashley and Jonathan earn the bare minimum b/c this is a non-issue for them).

{the binder - the kids can check it any time to see how many marbles they've earned and what they can do to earn more}
We strive to give out marbles daily. Sometimes life happens and we don't get to it each evening. The kids are responsible for tallying their marble count. We verify that all marbles have been earned. Check.

Each Friday is payday. The kids can use whatever marbles they have earned to buy what's on the list in the book. Exceptions can be made to this rule.

{our reward system}

{the kids can earn different durations of video game time using their marbles}
The kids *can* lose marbles due to a variety of reasons, the main two reasons in our house are being disrespectful and using potty language.

One last thing I'm contemplating changing is that they can't use every last marble to cash in on an item. After not being able to take marbles away for poor behavior, I'm debating making it a five marble minimum. This is easier than making them do chores to make up for bad behavior.

So, if you are intrigued by this system, by all means try it and let me know how it works for your family. It, like anything else, has some kinks but is very effective overall. The kids have responded well to it and look forward to accumulating marbles and rewarding themselves with whatever they want from the list.


Kelly Deneen said...

What an awesome idea!! :)

Jessica Kreitzer said...

To avoid the problem of running out of marbles, we have a minimum of 10 that must remain in the jar at the end of the week. That way they can lose those marbles before they have earned any in the week. It has worked great.

Can you send me your list of what they earn marbles for? We're pretty consistent with some of the main chores they do, but I would like some extra chores that they could do to earn extras. Of course, they don't really seem motivated for that. I need to find something else for Rachel to spend them on. She has playdates and sleepovers, but that's all she uses them for. So, she builds them up - no motivation to do extra chores.

Jessica Kreitzer said...

Never mind. When I clicked on it, I could read it better.

It's weird because your kids don't get as many marbles as mine do for chores, yet your prices are way higher. How many do they earn in a week?

Martina said...

My kids can earn quite a bit quickly. Ashley plugged away (she owed marbles for a stunt I won't share) and got up to 100 marbles to pay for her mistake. She really only owed about 70 or so, but offered to pay 100. I offered double marbles on Sunday in an effort to help her reach her goal quicker. I may offer one day a week where their marbles can be doubled. I mean, it can add up pretty quickly. Jonathan was initially discouraged from earning 75, but once he hit his goal I think it helped him realize he *can* do it.

And yeah, I do charge quite a bit for their chores. ;) But then, if they really want it, they do it and it hasn't been a problem so far. :)

Jen (Flumom) said...

I love this idea!! I'm going to need to implement it, and I think I'll need to share too!

Tara said...

Thanks for the this post. I've seen this system at Jes' house and thought about doing it but just haven't gotten myself together enough to do it. I think I'll just steal your lists and give it a whirl. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Tina said...

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