Let me start by saying I am not the absolute expert on parenting. Im lucky to say I have a few things in my corner: a little instinct, an awesome role model in my own mom and the “village” of mothers around me. I value so much the relationships I have with other mothers who are honest about how hard it can be to walk through this stage of our lives and how to parent “right” (if there is even such a thing).
After having my second child, Ruby, I was at the end of my rope trying to wrangle my 2 year old, Jack, while I seemed to be constantly stuck in the same spot, nursing our newborn on the couch. No amount of threats, bribery or TV was helping to keep him in line. One such friend and mother offered up this little strategy for me and I am indebted to her for it. It wont solve the world’s problems by any means but it has helped me parent more calmly and effectively, making our home a happier place. This brilliant idea offers up instant positive reinforcement to kids, giving them the attention they crave.
I introduce to you what my children have lovingly come to know as rocks…
There are so many varieties of this idea: some parents do coupons, others do sticker charts, we do “rocks”. With a simple name like “rocks”, the idea has to be just as simple right? Yup. You can have this little idea rolling in your house in under 30 minutes plus maybe a short stint at Micheals if you dont have the supplies already at home.
- (2) jar or bucket
- stickers or washi tape to decorate
- “rocks” or other fun items to count earnings
- permanent marker or paint pen (check out the tutorial at Oh Happy Day for an awesome way to add names)
You see, for every good deed our children do, they receive a certain amount of rocks. The “rocks” can be buttons, spare Legos or floral gems- whatever excites them and helps you keep track. (I scored floral gems at The Dollar Store so we went with those.) The brilliant part is you can easily tailor how rocks are earned according to each child, their age and the current issue or stumbling block. Its so simple it makes for an easy transition with grandparents and babysitters as well.
Here are some of the ways rocks are earned in our home:
sharing without pressure from mom or dad · 2 rocks
completing school worksheet · 1 rock
trip to the store without arguing · 2 rocks
feeding the cat · 1 rock
cleaning bedroom · 3 rocks
Once your child fills up their jar of rocks they get to pick how to celebrate: date to the movies with mom or dad, a trip to Toys ‘R Us to pick out a new Lego set, or dinner at their favorite restaurant! Two years later, Jack’s jar is still a house staple and we just started Ruby’s own jar- making a significant dent in the “terrible twos”. Like my friend before, I have passed on this rock system to many other friends and now Im passing it on to you.