Friday, March 8, 2013

A Motivator and A Reminder

Bean Jar & Prayer Sticks

Thanks to Pinterest and other creative Mommy blogs, I’m getting really good at “stealing” ideas to help me with my own kiddos.  Here are two things that we recently implemented which my kids love.

:: A Motivator…a.k.a. The Bean Jar

I read about this on My Home TableauThe idea is to motivate, recognize, and reward your kids for doing what is right.  So many times we focus on what they are not doing, on their disobedience.  It can get discouraging – for them as well as for me.  So rewarding my kids for doing what they are supposed to do – like sharing, picking up their toys, obeying right away, etc. helps me to focus on the positive.

The great thing about a bean jar is that the rewards don’t cost a ton of money.The Bean Jar  Each time I want to recognize what the kids did right, they get to add a bean to the jar.  When the jar is full, we will make a fun family outing.  Elaine wants to go ride the carousel and have ice cream, so that’s probably what we will do.

I was skeptical that the kids would get excited about putting something as boring as a bean into a jar.  But I was wrong!  They compete to see who gets the most beans.  Nolan is never happy when Elaine gets a bean and he doesn’t.

There are a couple of rules: 1) the kids cannot ask for a bean.  If they do, they forfeit the bean.  2) it is random.  They don’t get a bean every time they share.  But if I feel like it’s a good “share” to reward, then they get a bean.

And while it is supposed to be random, there are a couple of things that we reward consistently.  Elaine gets a bean every morning that she wakes up dry.  We’re almost done potty training, and this has helped her to tell us when she needs to “go”, even if she’s in bed.  We are also trying to help Elaine be more friendly at church.  She doesn’t like to talk to many people.  For each person that she greets or speaks to, she gets a bean.  Nolan has been getting a bean for each night and nap that he stays in his bed.

:: A Reminder…a.k.a. The Prayer Sticks

The Prayer SticksI think I first saw this from my friend Sarah, but I can’t remember.  We wrote down our blessings and some of our on-going prayer requests.  Each one was written on a popsicle stick.  The sticks are in a mason jar, and each time we pray the kids pick a stick.  We were getting in a “rut” of always praying for Elaine’s friends, and this helps her to remember the other requests.

This has been exciting too, because we have seen some prayers answered already – like getting the bunk beds.  And we get to explain some prayer requests to Elaine.  If she doesn’t understand why we are praying for a person to be saved, then we can explain to her that we want that person to know about Jesus.  It’s been a good reminder for me too, because I sometimes get in a rut in my own prayers.

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