Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Warm Fuzzy Jar

So here's another non-recipe post, but parenting has been on my radar especially as of late. I love my 3-yr-old, but some days it's all I can do to be patient. I am far from being a "perfect" mother, but I try my hardest to be a really great mother. I am really close with my Mom and she is so great with kids. My 3-yr-old is also very close with her and there are things that my Mom can get her to do that I can't. I was talking with my Mom about some of our parenting issues and any of you that have/had a 3-yr-old know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a hard age. They think they are bigger than they are, they want to be independent and they are constantly pushing boundaries. I try SO hard to be patient, but some days are insanely difficult. I wake up in the morning with the best of intentions, but there are days that it doesn't last long. I'm not gonna lie, some times I just want to run and hide in my closet with some cupcakes. It's amazing how demanding little children can be at time.

I believe in positive reinforcement, but some times it seems like my 3-yr-old only responds to loud voices and negative reinforcement. I was talking to my Mom about it and asking her advice for a positive way to help my daughter engage in cleaning up, assisting with age-appropriate chores, not stealing toys from Little Sis--all without screaming, throwing tantrums and sassing. Impossible? It felt pretty dang close. What? Have a 3-yr-old corporate AND do it cheerfully? Shaaaaa, whatev. It felt like an oxymoron.

Then the advice from an experienced Mom, whom of which I thought knew absolutely nothing about parenting when I was a teenager, saved the day. Side note: Isn't it so funny how your parents become so wise when you finally have kids of your own? 'Tis the circle of life.

I came one afternoon to pick up my girls after work and my Mom had made this cute jar with my daughter. My Mom is very frugal and she created a little miracle for less than $3. Please meet the Warm Fuzzy jar:

This jar has been so awesome. You can use it for your kids, nephews/nieces, younger siblings or any children that you care for. You could try using it with your teenager(s) or your significant other, but, well, good luck with that. :) How it works is anytime you catch the child doing something without being asked, being a nice friend, sharing with a sibling, or doing other responsibilities with a good attitude then they earn "warm fuzzies". They get to choose the color and put them in the jar. Then when they fill the jar they can earn prizes, special privleges, TV time, field trips or whatever reward works for them. This concept is all about focusing on positive behaviors and attitudes and positive reinforcement. I also love that it's a great way to discuss emotions with children. It is working beautifully for us so far. Our daughter loves finding things to do to help us and she gets so excited to see her jar fill with the fuzzies. We had a discussion about things that help us feel happy or that give us "warm fuzzies." It was neat to hear my daughter's ideas. It's amazing how aware children are.

Here's what you need: (all found at the dollar store)
-an old jar (could be a spaghetti sauce jar, mason jar, baby food jar, etc.)
-construction paper
-googlie eyes
-craft pom poms
-assortment of stickers

1. Assembly is super simple. All you need to do is cut out a circle to fit over the lid. Glue it on to the lid and then glue on some googlie eyes. Let the child decorate it with stickers. You could even let them name their jar. Put it in a special place that the child can see and then start letting them earn the warm fuzzies.

I love seeing my daughter find positive ways to help in our family and her behavior has improved so much. I love that my Mom teaches me simple ways to help engage children. I think I try to make things too complicated. This has been the best reward system yet.

If any of you have some great ideas that you use as positive reinforcement with your children or children that you care for, please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear more ideas! "It takes a village to raise a child."

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