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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 XYZ” 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 a smile on their face when you were correcting behavior? Reward Rocks might just be your answer.
What Are Reward Rocks?
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 to 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 different forms of positive reinforcement but, my two kids view their accomplishments differently. My daughter has a more naturally agreeable personality. She can thrive in just hearing “good job” and getting a high five. My son, on the other hand, is much more analytical; he wants to understand why I ask him to do certain chores.
My kids are 7 and 5 and struggle with different tasks. While I have to talk my son into putting on a jacket, it’s no biggie for my daughter. “You need to eat breakfast” is no problem for him, but with her, it’s a different story.
To motivate my two kids, I came up with a reward system called Reward Rocks. I went to Family Dollar and spent about six bucks on two vases and 4 bags of rocks. You can use marbles or anything else you think your kids will like. Rocks are a gift in our home. We give them to each other when we find cool ones, and I love them for grounding, so it was a no brainer for me.
I came home and let the kids individualize their rock vases with patio paint I had lying around, and voila! They were already excited about mom’s new project. I filled a larger vase with rocks and put all three vases in the most public place I could find, the kitchen. Then I explained the rules of Reward Rocks with them. I will give them a rock (or sometimes two or three) for their good behavior and 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 ways to get rocks are saying yes ma’am, thanking each other, asking politely for snacks, taking initiative on cleaning something up on their own, not whining, telling their sibling good morning, brushing their teeth without asking….the list can go on and on.
My son got several rocks at one time because the lunch lady at his school pulled me aside 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.
Parenting Is Fun Again!
They already have full jars of rocks! It takes them about 3-5 days to fill one up it seems. Before we started, we all sat down and came up with a list of things that they would enjoy as their reward. We came up with about 25 activities that last either half an hour or a full hour.
When their jar is full, my kids are allowed to pick either two 30-minute rewards or a one-hour reward. We had a lot of fun coming up with the activities! They don’t have to be expensive either; the only one that costs money is an ice cream break. Some of the things we came up with were: playing blocks, playing classroom, riding bikes for an hour, painting nails, watching their favorite show and cuddling, cooking a recipe together, and going to the park.
The first week went very smoothly for us. They are still very excited and motivated about it! One of the main reasons why I like this is that it isn’t the same thing over and over. You can adjust the rewards system as you go depending on what your kids struggling with.
This week, I’m giving out rocks when we don’t fight to put on a jacket or pack it in their backpack!
The kids have already turned in their first completed jars and chose to play blocks, play classroom, and go on an ice cream date!
Reward Rocks Do’s and Don’ts
Do you want to use Reward Rocks with your own kids? Use these helpful tips to get started!
Be sure to:
- Make the reward fun! Put away your phone, praise your kids, and be present.
- Choose rewards that they love. They’ll be on their best behavior because they can’t wait for the next one.
- Make the rocks a part of everyday life! Even if you’re in a public place, it should be easy to hand out rocks throughout the day.
- Use rock language. Say things like, “you rock,” “that’s definitely a rock,” and “Let’s earn some rocks during bedtime.”
- Invite all parenting figures, babysitters, and grandparents to use Reward Rocks! We are a blended family, so it’s awesome to let step-dad reward them and grow their relationship together.
- Allow it to cross over to out of home, too. Good report cards, helping friends, and compliments from other parents all deserve rocks!
Be sure NOT to:
- Make it a competition between siblings. This is a surefire way to de-motivate your kids and kill their spirit.
- Take the rocks out of the jar as a consequence. Use separate logical consequences for poor choices and bad behavior. The rocks should only be associated with positivity.
- Skip days or forget about the rewards.
- Be on your phone, talk about chores, or be distracted when you are rewarding your kids.
I hope you and your family enjoy Reward Rocks as much as we have! If you need help getting started or want to learn more about positive reinforcement, book a free consultation with me. I would love to hear the different spins you creative parents have on it! Have a rocking week!