Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bean Jar

Here's an idea for those of you with young children. I don't know about you but I am always looking for something to encourage good behavior from my kids. They're good kids but sometimes it's nice to have an incentive to get them motivated to do the things that are asked of them.

Find a jar to fill up with beans. Any kind of beans and any size of jar that you prefer. I use pinto beans and a pretty small jar since the beans are so small. Before you begin with the behavior there are a couple things you should do. Fill the jar with beans so that you know how much you need then dump them out into a bowl for easy access. Then decide on a prize for when the Bean Jar gets filled so the kids know what it is they are working toward. We have done everything from go to a movie, have a sleepover in the living room with popcorn and a movie (my kids love this), go out to a museum, etc.

Once the incentive is there, the jar can begin its job! Every time a child does something nice or accomplishes something great they can put beans in the jar. Mom and Dad usually decide how much is appropriate. It's always different. At first they would get beans for being asked to do something and following directions. Now they usually get beans for doing something without being told. They might get beans for clearing their plate after lunch or for just being kind to their siblings. The amount of beans they receive for these things can differ each time. Sometimes sharing a toy is worth 4 beans while the next time it might be worth 7. Whatever you feel is appropriate. A child may even receive beans for accomplishments. When my daughter was learning to tie her shoes she was getting very frustrated. I told her she would get 15 beans if she would keep working at it. She worked all day that day at tying those shoes and by the next morning, she could do it all by herself!

Now remember, this is only a good behavior/accomplishment jar! Don't punish children for bad behavior by taking beans out of the jar. Then it becomes a chore and we want to encourage good behavior! Children may not get excited about it if beans are taken away. This is a team effort! One child's good behavior helps everyone.

I wish I could take credit for this idea but I can't. I got it from an essay I read. The essay is a companion to a book called A Thomas Jefferson Education. Great book! I would recommend it to anyone.

1 comment:

A Bunch of Roaches said...

That is a great idea. I would have absolutely loved that when I was a kid. It is always nice to have something to look forward too.