Monday, November 16, 2009

He Does it for the Dots

When Kate was born, I suddenly realized I couldn't MAKE Finn obey me anymore. This is due to the fact that 75% of the time I am using both hands to feed Kate or hold Kate or carry Kate in her yes-it's-awkward-to-carry-but-there's-no-other-way car seat. I was getting sick of threatening him with time in the corner and spanks and knew I needed better incentives. A couple months ago I started a "rewards" program with Finn and it has changed my life!

Here's how it works: I scored a bunch of hot wheels cars for super cheap at a garage sale. One at a time, I put cars on top of the oven that Finn can see, but he can't play with. I draw a simple dot-to-dot picture of the car that he is currenlty working towards and hang it on the fridge. Every time he obeys Aaron and I, or we notice him doing something good, he 'gets a dot' and we let him connect another dot in the picture. Once the picture is complete, he wins the car.
The first picture (the ambulance shown above) only had about 8 dots so he could quickly learn how it works, but now that he gets the idea his pictures have several more dots. He LOVES this little program and will happily say "dot!" if he knows he's done something good. It's great for me as a mom because it helps me LOOK for the good things he does, instead of just punishing the bad.
I used to fight with him to get him to come inside after and outing...now he runs into the house so he can get a dot. I used to fight with him to get him to lay still while I changed his diaper...now he cooperates (most of the time:) so he can get a dot. The other day at the park, he started to freak out when it was time to leave...but I told him if he got into the stroller without throwing a fit I'd give him a dot when we got home and he climbed in without further argument.
If you have kids and do not have some kind of positive rewards system I HIGHLY reccommend it. It has seriously helped me become a better mother and turned my son into a happier toddler. Way to go on earining your crane truck today Finn! Now he's working toward a tow truck...

15 comments:

Zane and Lexi said...

I love this idea! Zane loves cars, so I think I will give this a try... thanks for the good tips in toddler parenting! keep em coming :)

Nichole said...

brilliant.

Launi said...

that is genius. thanks for the idea! i also feel like i'm constantly threatening alex with a time out!

Charlotta-love said...

That's really cool. I may incorporate that with my (future) PE classes. The 'dots' will be units and then they get a free day or something.

What the Hecklinger?! said...

What a great idea! We have been using the marble jars, and have tweaked how they earn them now and then, but it's time for something new! Maybe we'll give the dot system a whirl! Genius!

Angie said...

such a great idea ashley! love it!

The Prigmore Family said...

Genius!! I so need this because choob is in the terrible threes. Thanks for the tip.

Are you guys coming to SD for Christmas?

The Dobrons said...

ASHLEY! I LOVE it. I love seeing moms finding creative ways to make things work. And I totally agree...it's kinda for us as mom's too, to help us see the good they do. So cute. love it.

Jess and Matt said...

You are a genius! Amazing what a little positive reinforcement will do. I love the idea!

Marce said...

You should've been a kindergarten teacher! :) I totally am using this idea....because the power struggles between Ellie and I are on the brink of making my head explode. Then again, I don't think Ellie would really get it quite yet...maybe i'd better wait a few months. Still, thanks for sharing! You're adorable!

Jobi Niu said...

That idea is GENIOUS!I need to try it. You're so creative. I remember you saying something about that at the "play group".. Plus finn is like Picasso... AMAZING artist anyways.. haha

Lisa Johnson said...

What a brilliant idea! I love it. I'll for sure have to start using that with Autumn! :D

Parks' Place said...

Good idea Ashley. Will have to steal your creative ideas!

Emily Parks said...

gotta love it. Finn is so cute.

Butchike Bunch said...

Now I know who to come to about advice for toddlers... what great positive reinforcement.