May 17, 2010

Love Jar

At the beginning of the year, Eric and I chose a family theme to focus and try to do better on:
"Love should be our walk and our talk."
So we've spent each FHE lesson and numerous conversations on the various aspects of loving ourselves, loving God, loving others, and loving eachother. Conversations have been great, but they haven't always led to action. We needed a little motivation to focus us in the right direction. And stop yelling, fighting, arguing, teasing, whining, complaining.

I've read and studied plenty of Alfie Kohn, books like Punished by Rewards and No Contest, and so I tend to be very careful when it comes to rewards and tokens. I've seen that rewards can interfere more than help in some situations. But, at the same time, everyone needs a little praise and encouragement to know that they're on the right track and help them along until it becomes habit.

Our solution:
Love Jars.
We covered them in Floam. And compared them to filling our hearts up with love. Anybody can notice something kind or thoughtful that you say or do and then add a linking cube into your jar. However, you can lose cubes for losing control and not showing love. And you can't tell someone you did something nice or ask them to put one in your jar. When the jar, and thus our heart, is filled to the top with love, we go on a special, fun mommy-daddy-son date.

*boys going out of their way to do and say kind things
*boys recognize, in a tangible way, that they do lots of kind things (focus on positive not negative)
*chance to talk about how our actions help us and others feel
*boys get individual time with mom and dad (which they probably would have had anyways, but now we are more accountable to follow through)
*taking out a cube means no threats, just an immediate consequence and an immediate stopping of not-so-good choice
*noticing the nice things others do for you and those around you

*comparing jars with eachother
*very extrinsic motivation (will it really help them develop intrinisic motivation?)

It took about 2 weeks to fill our Love Jars, and I've definitely noticed a difference. It's been a good experience. Everyone's been more motivated to show a little more love, and hopefully now we will keep that up.
Stefanie Hyer said...

Yay for you! Hope it continues to show the love!

Jenna Allen said...

I like this! You're such a good mom, Losie!

Barb said...

I love your Mommy ideas, Laura, you and Eric are creative and you FOLLOW THROUGH(very important). I am a believer in rewards, not necessarily the tangible kind, but we all reward ourselves as adults,(bubble bath, dinner out, a walk with a friend, a new book) so Ithink kids should have that too.