School is coming! Avoid the Battles with “Reward Rocks”
By: Pare Underwood
How can you get your kids to listen to you without absolutely losing your mind?! Are you a “we will go get ice-cream if you do x,y,z” parent or are you a “You just lost your TV privileges” parent?
Sure, screaming and legal negotiations can get your kids moving, but what if everyone still had smile on their face when you were correcting behavior or handing out chores? Reward Rocks might just be your answer.
What do you do when your kids “outgrow” certain rewards? What do you do if you have kids of different ages or personalities? Or one kid that refuses to go to bed, but the other refuses get out of it?
If you are tired of lengthy or confusing reward charts or Pinterest parenting fails, I invite you to take a look at what is and has been working in our home. I call it positive reinforcement with “Reward Rocks.”
I’ve tried many of the above things, however, my two kids view their accomplishments differently. My daughter has a more naturally pleasing personality. She can thrive in just hearing good job and a high five, where my son is much more analytical and he wants things to make sense that is being asked of him or his time.
My kids are 7 and 5 and struggle with different tasks. What I have to “talk my son into” putting a jacket on is no biggie for her, and “you need to eat breakfast” is no problem for him.
So here is what I came up with last year , and it has been a great middle-ground that feeds both their spirits and seems to motivate them both on the same level with different choices and reward rocks based on what they each are working on.
I call it Reward Rocks. I went to Family Dollar and spent about six bucks and bought two vases and 4 bags of rocks. I’m sure you could use marbles or anything you think your kids will get into. Rocks are a gift in our home, where we give them to each other when we find cool ones, on vacation, and I love them for grounding, so it was a no brainer for me😊
Came home, and let the kids individualize their rock vases with random patio paint I had on stock, and “WHALA” they were already excited about moms new gig. I filled a larger vase with rocks and put all three vases in the most public place I could find, the kitchen. I shared the rock agenda with them, that they will get a rock or sometimes two or three at a time for things I see or notice that they do. I will tell them when they get one and the reason why.
Positive Reinforcement Really Works!
There is a huge difference between positive and negative reinforcement. If you are unsure of what the difference is check out a great explanation here.
So far the main things for rocks are saying yes mam, thank you to each other, asking politely for snacks, taking initiative on cleaning something up on their own, not whining when its time to…..go to bed, turn off the tv, go pick up big brother, clean up your backpack, eating without complaining, putting up your dish, telling their sibling good morning, brushing your teeth without asking….the list can go on and on. My son got several rocks at one time because the lunch lady pulled me aside when I was at lunch with him and told me that he always has excellent manners and is so sweet. Compliments from the outside are a bonus!
This really has been a wonderful experience for me and for them. I think it offers ways to reward both behavior and character accomplishments.
Make Parenting fun again!
They have a full jar of rocks, mine takes about 3-5 days to fill up it seems. Before we started the filling up, we all sat down and came up with a list of things that they would enjoy getting for an award. We came up with about 25 things to choose from. Some had 30-minute stamps on them and some an hour.
For my kid’s age I told them when their jar is full, they can pick either 2 30 minute things or one-hour thing. We had a lot of fun coming up with the things. The only one that costs money (ice cream break) and that’s because my husband suggested it😊 Things we came up with were: playing blocks, playing class, riding bikes in the front for an hour, painting nails, watch favorite show and cuddle, cook a recipe together, go to the park.
The first week went extremely smoothly for us, and they are still very excited and motivated about it, the reason I like this, is that it isn’t the same thing over and over, it adds a different flavor and you can adjust as you go, depending on what your kids struggling with.
This week I’m making sure we get rocks when we don’t fight to put a jacket or packing your jacket in your backpack!
Kids have already turned in their first completed jar for playing blocks, classroom, and an ice cream date!
Be sure to:
- Make the reward so FUN! Play music, be off your phone, laugh, giggle, praise them
- Make it a reward that they can’t wait until the next one happens
- Make the rocks a part of everyday life, it’s in a public place, so it should be easy to slip the rocks in throughout the day
- Use rock language “ You Rock” “That’s definitely a Rock” “Let’s earn some rocks during bedtime”
- Let all parenting figures, babysitters, and grandparents use it! We are blended family, so it’s awesome to allow step-dad to reward them and build their want to listen to him as well
- Allow it to cross over to out of home too. A good report card, Rock! A compliment from friends parent, Rock! Helping a soccer friend find his water jug, ROCK!
Be sure NOT to:
- Make it a competition between siblings, this is a sure way to de-motivate your kids and kill their spirit
- Take rocks out of the jar as a consequence. Use separate logical consequences for active poor choices. The rocks should only be associated with positivity.
- Skip days at a time.
- Be on your phone, talk about chores, be distracted with dinner on the stove, other siblings
I hope you and your family enjoy the making and granting of reward rocks as much as we have. If you could use some help coming up with how to get started feel free to book a free consult with me here. I would love to hear the different spins you creative parents have on it! Have a rocking week!