Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Initiative Jar

Something amazing is going on in my house.  It all started on Friday when someone set the table without my asking or knowing.  I turned around after cooking dinner to see the table all set with plates, napkins and silverware.  How this escaped my attention I can only account to the fact that I am a very focused cook.  If I don't focus, dinner may not be very edible.

I asked who set the table and Dave fessed up.  I thanked him and complimented him on his taking initiative by seeing something that needed to be done and doing it without being asked.  I gave him a big hug and kiss.  Ten minutes later it was dinner time and Lizzy comes to the table to inform me that she had cleaned her room without being asked.  I complimented her, gave her a big hug and kiss and thought that was the end of it.  After dinner Joy went and got into her pajamas all on her own.  Lizzy got ambitious and helped clear the table, picked up the dining room, and lined up the shoes in the mud room.  Saturday morning when I woke up, Lizzy handed me a note she had written that said there wasn't even one thing on the floor in the basement play room.  She had woken up early and cleaned the entire very messy room.

This all gave me an idea--I should start an Initiative Jar where the kids can put a marble into a jar every time they take the initiative on something.  When the jar is full, I'll reward them with something fun.  I didn't get to the store until yesterday to buy the marbles, but when I got them home and told the kids about them, this is what happened.  Dave picked up the dining room and set the table.  Lizzy came and asked me if the laundry hampers in the living room were ready to be folded and then all three kids proceeded to fold both hampers of clothes AND PUT THE LAUNDRY AWAY!!!  Gasp!!!  Lizzy made my bed and asked to clean the family bathroom.  Joy asked to clean the master bathroom.  All three kids helped clear the table and do dishes.  In one evening the Initiative Jar earned a lot of marbles.

This morning while I was busy making bread, I noticed that my house was rather quiet for having a 4 year old in it.  I went investigating and this is what I found.  Joy was cleaning the bathroom again to earn a marble.

My plan is to let them fill this jar up and then change the goal to keep them excited.  The next jar is going to be the Kind Speech jar where they get to add a marble every time they say something kind to someone (as opposed to not kind).

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