Ever since my oldest turned 8 he has been, shall we say, a little slack in the picking up after himself department. He’s now 9 mind you. Up until then he had always been good about things like putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, shutting off his bathroom light and closing his closet door. For whatever reason though, starting last year right around his 8th birthday, this child ceased to remember how to do everything he was so good at up through age seven. I have gotten tired of reminding him and so…. this finally fed up mother has come up with a system.
Mister A always did well with various behavior charts and stickers when he was younger so I thought I would try a similar approach at 9 and see how it goes. I decided on Responsibility Jars. What I did was set up two. One full of rocks, the other essentially empty. The idea here is that all the rocks need to end up in the responsibility jar (the one decorated with the red washi tape) and when that happens he gets some kind of reward. A fun activity of his choosing like mini golf or new book. His choice (within reason of course). I did start him out with a small amount of rocks already in the responsibility jar because I’m putting a little twist on the rules this time.
Every time he is responsible and remembers to do all the things previously mentioned, plus a few more that we’ve defined, along with anything else that shows initiative and responsibility without having to be asked, he gets to put a rock in the jar. If he forgets to do any of the above or I have to remind him, then he has to remove a rock from the jar.
I wasn’t sure if he would be open to the idea or if he might find it “lame”. Surprisingly he’s very receptive of it. When he first saw the finished jars he even said ‘oh those are cute’… gotta love that kid. I’m finding him being even more helpful than I expected trying to earn more rocks.
We’ve only been at it for a little over a week but he’s been surprisingly responsible. It’s amazing how much he can actually remember to do without my asking. I can only hope that this remembering simply becomes a habit when the jar is finally full!