Yes Jar

by , posted on October 12th, 2010 in Parenting




A lot of you commented on my post about my frustration trying to parent my adorable but incredibly feisty daughter.

You told me to let you know when I figured something out.

Well, I have.

Actually, my pediatrician has.

We’re trying it. I figured I’d share it with you too. Because I’m a giver. A giver, I tell you!

Of course you can feel free to ignore this. It’s just a humble suggestion.

What you do is you take a jar (or jars, if you have more than one kid). And every time your child does something good, like washing hands before eating without being told, or doing what you ask without arguing, or being kind, etc., you write “yes” on a slip of paper and put it in the jar.

If they do something not so good, like arguing, whining, not listening, smacking his sister, kicking her brother (not that I know any kids who would do anything like THAT), then you write “no” on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.

Then, when your child asks for something, like maybe a treat, or extra TV time, or a trip to the park or whatever, you simply reach your hand in the jar and select a piece of paper – and whatever it says? Is the answer to their request.

THEY control their chances of having a positive answer to what they want. Our pediatrician says they catch on pretty fast.

We’re just starting to implement this so I can’t tell you just yet how well it’s working. But it definitely stops arguments when I write “no.”

What do you guys think of this? Let me know if you try it!

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99 Responses to “Yes Jar”

  1. cristina Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    that sounds like a really great idea. good luck :)

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you – I’ll need it!

    [Reply]


  2. Jill Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I love this idea! Thank you for sharing it.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Lemme know if you try it!

    [Reply]


  3. Leah Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Wow, thats an awesome idea! Sounds like something that Nanny 911 should use on her show!
    Leah recently posted..Vote- Vote- Vote!!!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Ha! Exactly!

    [Reply]


  4. Lynsey Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m going to try that too. Sounds a lot better than getting frustrated all of the time.
    Lynsey recently posted..I just didn’t know

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes, I spent a LOT of time being frustrated!

    [Reply]


  5. angela Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    That is a wonderful idea! My kids are a little young for that (I think?), but it is definitely being filed away for when they get a little older.
    angela recently posted..All Dressed Up

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yeah, I think they have to be old enough to really get it. Maybe starting at 3?

    [Reply]


  6. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Oh! What a good idea! I think this could work…

    Thanks!
    Sarah @ This Heavenly Life recently posted..An Orchard Of Sorts

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I sure HOPE it works! ;)

    [Reply]


  7. Renee Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I like it!
    I will pass that along to my daughter. Cause she’s gonna have her hands full with grandson in a couple years I think.
    Renee recently posted..My Daughter What

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Oooh…I feel for her already!

    [Reply]


  8. Sara Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Great idea. I’m going to have to remember that one for when Pie is older. I’m really curious to see how it changes behavior.
    Sara recently posted..Monday Minute 10-11

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Me too! It’s supposed to motivate them. We’ll see.

    [Reply]


  9. Wendy Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Great idea! Going to try with my almost 3 year old. She may be too young but time outs aren’t working!
    Wendy recently posted..Im Writing for Write Pink today!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yeah, I think timeouts are more for ME! lol

    [Reply]


  10. Megan Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Now that is a great idea! I’m definitely going to try this with my daughter.
    Megan recently posted..She craft! She craft!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Excellent! Let me know how it goes!

    [Reply]


  11. Jen Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I like! AND it’s not complicated. Which so many of the “solutions” are. I’m usually loathe to try for solutions like this. Skeptic me. But I think you may be on to something, you giver you.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I am SUCH a giver, aren’t I? Yes, I like that it’s simple and, literally, in black-and-white. ;)

    [Reply]


  12. Mya Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    So going to try this. Thank you for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    You’ll definitely have to let me know how it goes. The kid are however arguing over “SHE got two yesses so I need another one.” Ugh.

    [Reply]


  13. Amy Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    OMG … running to the store now to buy some darn jars!!!!! Will report back with results … I will try ANYTHING!!!! :D

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    HEE! I’m sure the twins will LOVE it! LOL

    [Reply]


  14. Kellie Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I like this idea, we did a similiar idea with marbles but it became a lot to keep track of. This idea I really like. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes, I think this idea is a little easier. No counting involved, either! ;0

    [Reply]


  15. Michele Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I’m going to remember this one for future use. Keep the tips coming!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I wish I had more tips, believe me! I just told our ped. I was so frustrated and that was the suggestion that made most sense.

    [Reply]


  16. Ma What's For Dinner Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that idea…I am so ripping it off!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner
    http://www.mawhats4dinner.com
    Ma What’s For Dinner recently posted..Winner Winner Apple Dinner!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Rip away! Rip away! ;)

    [Reply]


  17. liz Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I’m getting a jar and starting this today! kate’s whining is OUT OF CONTROL, and I can’t stand the sister screaming fests they too often engage in!
    liz recently posted..13 Things I Believe

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes yes and yes. I feel you, I do! Hope it helps!!

    [Reply]


  18. Pamela Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    That’s an awesome idea! I’m willing to give anything a try right about now!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    That’s exactly how I felt. This seemed pretty straight-forward.

    [Reply]


  19. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    We need to keep this technology out of the hands of the husbands.

    That’s something I prefer they simply have no concept of.
    Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points recently posted..Pumpkin Grief

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Don’t even think such thoughts. Oy vey that’d be awful!

    [Reply]


  20. Jen Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Huh, this is a really good idea.
    Jen recently posted..Living in the City

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    That’s what I thought. So I share. I share!

    [Reply]


  21. Jennifer Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I’m willing to try anything at this point, so I’ll give it a whirl!
    Jennifer recently posted..OCFA Fire Station Open Houses – Saturday- October 2nd 9a-2p

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    That’s how I felt – any new idea is helpful!

    [Reply]


  22. Anne Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    You’re kidding! What timing. My girls have this system at school (except they use marbles in the jar) and this past weekend when we had a family meeting about poor behavior and asked the girls what we could do about it they suggested we get a jar and put something in it for every time they’re good – just like at school and when it’s full they’ll get a special reward. Except we hadn’t figure out what to put in it. Yesterday I grabbed a toothpick because the jar of toothpicks happened to be out. So they have one toothpick in it so far (for nice behavior at dinner!). My husband said he’d buy marbles for them this weekend. Let me know how your jar works in the weeks to come!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    We tried something like that before and they’d just be on us constantly to put stuff in the jar for everything they did – like breathing. ;)

    [Reply]


  23. Cheryl D. Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Sounds good, but I bet with my daughter’s luck, I’d pull the one yes slip (out of 100 no’s). That would show her! LOL
    Cheryl D. recently posted..Bullying Starts Young

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    HA! It’s all about the luck of the draw!

    [Reply]


  24. Aging Mommy Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I had not heard of this technique Cheryl – it sounds like an interesting way to try and influence behavior because the impression your child is left with is one of controlling the situation. I’m not sure my daughter is quite old enough to grasp this, but I think it is worth a try.

    Can’t wait to hear how you get on – thank you for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yeah, I’m not sure what the appropriate age to start it is. Let me know how M does!

    [Reply]


  25. Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I am totally digging this idea. Can’t wait to hear how it works!!!
    Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation recently posted..Teething Sucks &amp How I Learned Men Have Always &amp Will Always be BABIES

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Keep your fingers crossed! ;)

    [Reply]


  26. Elizabeth Flora Ross Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    That is brilliant! My daughter is not old enough yet for us to use this, but I know it will come in very handy when she’s a bit older. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It’s always good to have a plan for the future! ;) Thanks for the RT, too!

    [Reply]


  27. Kimberly Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Pure genius. Also this may work for husbands…you know…if they want the “sexy” times. They hold the key to their own destiny…muwhahahahah.
    Kimberly recently posted..I Am Thankful

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    They can get a “yes” for doing the dishes, making dinner, taking out the trash – wait, my husband does all this. ACK! lol

    [Reply]


  28. Jen Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    It’s such a great idea. I have always been one of those, “you reap what you sow” “internal locus of control” types.

    It’s a nice way of teaching kids they catch more flies with honey. And that’s sweet for everyone. (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. ha!)
    Jen recently posted..Moments in Childhood- Tag

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Are you going to do it?

    [Reply]


  29. Jackie Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Hmmm… how do yo think this would this work on a 15, 11, and 8 yr old???
    Jackie recently posted..My week in a nutshell

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    NO idea! I can’t imagine my kids being that age (my eldest isn’t quite 7). It’d be fun to try, tho!

    [Reply]


  30. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    OOh I LOVE this idea!! Can’t wait to hear the update. I love how this is a positive reinforcer and puts the child pretty much in charge of their own destiny. Brilliant.
    Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) recently posted..The Reality of TV

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    That’s what I like too, that they’ll have consequences for bad behavior – but it doesn’t make ME the bad guy, you know?

    [Reply]


  31. Ashley @ Just Another Mom of 2 Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Ooh, that’s a neat idea! I’d love to hear how this works!
    Ashley @ Just Another Mom of 2 recently posted..Menu Plan Monday- 10-11&amp Why I Menu Plan

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I will definitely keep everyone posted!

    [Reply]


  32. joann mannix Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I love this! It’s positive reinforcement in their own hands! I really do love this. It beats yelling and shrieking which is what happens in this house. I’m going to try this. I have teenagers, but I think it might even work better for them.
    joann mannix recently posted..Awake My Soul

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Oh! I can’t WAIT to hear how it works for your daughters!

    [Reply]


  33. mommakiss Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Super genius idea. Seriously.
    Do you tell them when you’re writing yes and now? Or are they just supposed to see it. Wondering if it would work on a 3 year old. I think 5 will get it, not sure about 3.
    mommakiss recently posted..The Versatile Post

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yep, they know what they’re getting My five year-old definitely gets it. Not sure about 3. Probably just depends on how much they can grasp delayed consequences, you know?

    [Reply]


  34. Becky Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Discussed this with my stroppy madam and we are going to try it after our birthdays this week! Seems like a win-win situation
    Becky recently posted..How Not To- Be A Domestic Goddess

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    How great a word is “stroppy”? I love it!

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    according to Dictionary.com:

    strop·py   
    [strop-ee]

    –adjective, -pi·er, -pi·est. British Informal .

    bad-tempered or hostile; quick to take offense.

    Origin:
    1950–55; perh. (ob)strep(erous) + -y1 , though o is unexplained
    Becky recently posted..How Not To- Be A Domestic Goddess

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I’m SO putting this into my vocabulary!


  35. Tonya R Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    If they are walking and talking, they are NOT too young to know the difference between appropriate & inappropriate behaviors. Plus, if you start this sort of thing early, it’ll hopefully make it easier on everyone as they get older.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hey Tonya!! You are right – they are not to young to know. But the concept of delayed consequence might not make so much sense to the toddler set. ;)

    [Reply]


  36. Wendy Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Awesome idea! I might try something similar with my high school students!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I’m sure they always listen to you, Wendy!

    [Reply]


  37. soge shirts Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Cheryl that is pretty brilliant. I imagine your kids and many others who use this method will catch on quick and decide that they want as many yesses as possible. Having no drawn out of the jar especially when it is something they really want will get them to wash those hands faster than a Jamaican running in the olympics.
    soge shirts recently posted..Free tshirt scavenger hunt

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    One would think. However, after my daughter’s performance today, I think just beating them with the jar might be more beneficial! ;)

    [Reply]


  38. Mad Woman behind the Blog Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    My daughter isn’t young enough for us to use this method but I’m putting it in my mommy memory bank (gah, better find a better place, I know!)
    But I wonder if it would work for my husband and well, sex. Hm.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I bet it would work. Imagine how motivated he’d be!

    [Reply]


  39. Elissa Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Hmmm…I may try this on my husband…as in “tonight, dear?”

    “Hmmm…let me see, hand me the jar”…

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hee! Lemme know how that goes over!

    [Reply]


  40. Jessica Anne Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I’ll jump on the bandwagon and try this. Me screaming all day long doesn’t seem to be working. I hope my 2 year old can understand it, she’s my biggest trouble maker right now.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I so know the all-day screaming. I also know about the troublemaking ones. Good luck!

    [Reply]


  41. Janine Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    brilliant!! Is it wrong to stack the deck and throw in some extra no’s just in case?? My kids ask for A LOT of stuff!! Hahahahah!!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hee! They’ll fill it up themselves! ;)

    [Reply]


  42. Gayle Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Good idea
    I may have to try this at my home. So tired of repeating myself and then yelling like a banshee
    Please keep us updated on how it works out.
    Gayle recently posted..Do you fight good

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I know the feeling all too well!

    [Reply]


  43. Grimmgirl Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I think my feisty Pete could use some jar action — will give it a try. My only concern is that sometimes he asks to do things that we really just can’t go out and do at that moment. I guess moms must police which requests one goes to the jar for.
    Grimmgirl recently posted..Sundays in my City

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes, you can decide which is jar-worthy. My problem is my kids want to do stuff together, so if I pull out a no from one jar then both are punished. So I have to rethink those times..

    [Reply]


  44. Booyah's Momma Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Interesting! I’m just wondering how that works if they’ve been a pretty good kid all day, but their request is denied because you happen to draw a No for an action that occurred quite some time before. Or, in my case, where my little one was a monster all day, but happened to get the only Yes in the jar? I guess it depends on how often you empty the jar, too.

    This really is creative, and I’m really curious to see how this works for you. Will you give us an update?
    Booyah’s Momma recently posted..Anyone know how to reach Anonymous

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I think you can use it at your discretion. I mean, if your kid’s been great all day, then when he asks for something, don’t use the jar. I also didn’t think about emptying it. Should it be emptied at the end of the day? Every few days? Once a week? Hmm..

    [Reply]


  45. Nichole Says:

    October 12th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Seriously? This idea is genius!
    I am so going to steal this idea and keep it handy.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Hopefully you won’t need it! ;)

    [Reply]


  46. Cyrene @ Mum In FlipFlops Says:

    October 13th, 2010 at 6:42 am

    This is an inspired idea! I’ll file it away for future reference. Thanks for sharing!

    Meanwhile, I’ll keep praying that my already feisty 1 year old will outgrow her head-strong ways soon. Hey, one can hope! ;)

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Don’t hold your breath.. ;)

    [Reply]


  47. Natalie Says:

    October 13th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Will be implementing this at our house today. Tater doesn’t listen. Maybe this well help. Sigh.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Let me know how it goes.

    [Reply]


  48. Lourie Says:

    October 15th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I came by from Shell’s place. I have heard of consequence jars. Good and bad. Same concept, but the consequence is what you choose based on the behavior.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Thanks for coming by! Yes, I’ve heard different versions. We’ll see how it goes.

    [Reply]


  49. Rudri Says:

    October 17th, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I will definitely try this. Hope you are faring well with this experiment! Keep us posted.
    Rudri recently posted..Transitions

    [Reply]


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