So, as a parent, I often find myself not doing as well as I would like in the area of positive reinforcements. I don't know about you, but I tend to be aware of the behaviors and attitudes I DON'T want my kids to have, and I focus on correcting those. I don't spend nearly enough time praising them for the behaviors I DO want to see in them. It seems like it's a lot more easy to correct and discipline than it is to praise. I'm not sure why that is...maybe it's just that there's more to correct at the ages that we're in! It also means that the 'squeaky wheels' (getting-in-trouble-prone!) boys get more of Mommy's attention (even though it's negative) than the one who doesn't require as much correction.
I was watching an episode of "19 Kids and Counting" in which Michelle Duggar (side note: that lady amazes me! How she maintains her 'calm and quiet' voice running after that many toddlers all at once is no less than a miracle! She really exemplifies Philippians 4:13 to me!) said that one word of praise is worth 10 of correction. They make it a point to sit down at the end of the night, and during their family Bible time, mention at least one thing good that each child did during that day. She also said the more people you have in the 'audience' of the person being praised just multiplies the positive effect it has on the recipient.
So in trying to come up with some ways to help me focus on positive praise with the boys, I decided to incorporate something they've been studying in their Patch Club devotions. This month's theme is 'reaping and sowing', and they recently read Galatians 5:22-23, which is the fruit of the Spirit. So here's what I came up with: each boy has a 'basket' with his name on it. I cut out different fruit shapes and wrote a fruit of the Spirit on it. If they notice someone showing one of these traits, or if Mommy sees them showing one, the person showing the trait can put that fruit into his basket. Here's what it looks like: (no making fun of my non-artistic crafting skills!)
It was great to watch them trying super-hard to do things that they thought would earn some fruit! There was a blossoming of helpfulness and patience almost right away! I told them that at the end of the week, if they had fruit in their baskets they would earn something special. It seems to be working well for now, and I find myself more aware of good behavior, which was my whole aim in doing this. Hopefully, by the time they get tired of it, I will have come up with something else! Anyway, this is what's working for us for now...how about you? What things have you heard of or used yourself to motivate in a positive way? Post in the comments and maybe I can use your idea next time! :)