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pasta jar: did it work for you? and what exactly did you do?

(11 Posts)
rhetorician Thu 07-Feb-13 19:53:42

have just instituted this for v. strong willed 4 yo DD1; started her off with 10 bits, told that when she gets to 25 she can have a small treat. So one in for good things: doing as she's asked first time, eating dinner tidily (not eating dinner per se) etc. One out for bad things: not doing as she's told, making a mess, pouring drinks etc. Extra ones for good behaviour (being nice to sister, hoovering etc); extra ones out for bad behaviour: hitting, mainly (which she hadn't been doing for a while, but that's a different issue).

It kind of worked today, but I don't think she cares about it that much, and wonder if I can incentivise her once the novelty has worn off.

My problem is that she does not accept the relationship between action and punishment. So, she pushes sister. I tell her no tv. She loses the plot and tries to go back on the bad behaviour. I usually repeat the punishment and why it has happened and then tell her that the discussion is over. If she cries and carries on then I ignore her. But we have been at this for about 18 months now. I know she can behave really well and can do so for weeks at a time.

Tips, ideas? If it's any help she was 4 about 3 weeks ago, so is only just 4. She behaves well at nursery.

welliesplease Thu 07-Feb-13 20:16:17

Nice idea. She's only little so maybe 25 is too many if she is getting bored ? Perhaps instead of pasta have something that she likes the look of going into the jar so she thinks she's getting an immediate reward when she's good.Something sparkly maybe ?

rhetorician Thu 07-Feb-13 20:30:46

That's a great idea, Welles, thanks...

Goober Thu 07-Feb-13 20:35:34


givemeaclue Thu 07-Feb-13 20:39:37

My five year olds love Hoovering!

Goober Thu 07-Feb-13 20:41:52

Pfffft! My 17 year old has no idea.grin

Newforestpony Thu 07-Feb-13 20:43:55

We've got a marble jar for our 4 year old son - it's worked a treat! Beats sticker charts hands down and he's nearly filled his first jar, so off to a big toy shop on Saturday for his very first marbles treat :-)
He's already requested a trip to Legoland for his second reward - thank goodness for Nectar points to pay for it! ;-)
Behaviour has dramatically improved and now we just have to say "Marbles" and magically he turns into an almost angelic child!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 07-Feb-13 21:01:26

Just one thing, dont take the things out! They are rewards that have already been given, taking them away for an unrelated incident can undermine the whole process.

Give rewards for everything you want to encourage and ignore as much as possible that you want to discourage.

Make your treats affordable or you wont be able to keep it up.

Good luck and enjoy a positive homesmile

rhetorician Thu 07-Feb-13 21:25:06

She decided to help with hoovering...that's a good point about not taking them out. Treats are to be small, but think first one should arrive fairly soon. I was thinking more of a new pot of play dough sort of thing.

ThenAndNow Thu 07-Feb-13 23:58:03


We use a pasta jar with my adopted son (6) and he does struggle to understand the link between behaviour and consequences but this has worked really well for over a year now.

We started off with no pasta in the jar.

He helped work out what his "rewards" would be so it was stuff that motivated him. E.g. extra time watching TV, playing on the Wii, playing on his DS and staying up late. All of these started off by being worth 10 pieces of pasta.

20 pieces of pasta was slightly bigger treats such as choosing a toy/game from a box (I bought a few cheap bits and pieces).

30 pieces of pasta was a treat like going to a cafe for a drink and biscuit/cake or going to MacDonalds etc.

We count the pieces of pasta once a week. The treat earned that week cannot be taken away for bad behaviour. He can choose to spend straightaway (ie on the extra time stuff) or choose to save up for something bigger. This helps him understand the benefits of waiting for something.

He earns two pieces of pasta a day for doing his "chores" (making his bed, getting ready for school, feeding the cat, laying the table etc). Other pasta is earned for random good stuff. So, even if your having a really bad day, there is always something you can praise. (Wow - you put your shoes on really nicely!)

Pasta is taken away (with a warning) for breaking golden rules which we also agreed on in advance. These are things he particularly struggles with such as hitting, kicking, being unkind with words, refusing to do something he is reasonably asked to do etc).

Before we did this we kept, unintentionally, making up random punishments which had absolutely no effect as he failed to make the connection between behaviour and consequence.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

rhetorician Fri 08-Feb-13 19:57:15

thenandnow those are very helpful suggestions, thank you. For us the issue has been that our anger, however well controlled, was very distressing to her, so she would react to the fact of being punished as much as to the punishment. I like this because you are working at one remove from the situation and that seems to work better for her.

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