Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Jar Labels

We started a “gem jar” reward system at our house for our girls 3, 6, and 8, about a year ago and it has been wildly successful.  Not only does it give me something to decorate for the seasons, but the girls have ownership and try to earn gems daily.
Halloween Jar Labels

Friends of ours have similar systems using marbles, and some of them even attach monetary values to the marbles (i.e. each marble = a quarter.)  However, we have two levels.  If my girls fill it halfway, it’s worth a small toy/prize like a trip out for ice cream or a play date, and if they fill it all the way it’s worth more like a friend sleeping over for my oldest or a new Monster High doll.  They set their own goals and work toward them.

We also have two different size gems (we’re talking the kind that come in mesh bags and people use in the bottom of fishbowls.)  They can earn one or several small gems for completing chores, taking care of responsibilities without being reminded, etc. OR a SUPER gem (it’s probably 5-6 times the size of a regular gem) for being extra nice to a sibling, extra chores, etc.  They can also lose gems for poor behavior- right now it’s the 8 year old’s back sass.  She’s on track to having her next sleepover in her dorm room.

I’ve found that there are two keys to making the gem jar system a success.
1.  The girls are responsible for adding and subtracting gems.  I give THEM the gems and THEY physically put it in their jars.  They are also the ones that have to fish out the gems and hand them back.  It just gives it a little more meaning- kind of like when I have to use cash instead of a credit card, makes it a little more real. : )
2.  It’s important to make sure they are able to earn a prize pretty quickly the first time, then regulate it from there.  No kid is going to get excited over a system that takes a month to earn- that’s like a decade in kid years.

So far it hasn’t occurred to them to steal from each other’s jars, but my middle child is so altruistic, she keeps giving her gems to her sisters.  I have to make mental notes to put them back because they didn’t earn them.  Checks and balances, you know.

Lastly, just because I’m weak there have been a few times that I tell my kids something is worth an automatic full jar.  One time it was whoever found my cell phone and another is when they finish a chapter book for the first time by themselves.  There have been others, but the elude me.

Happy Fall-oween!



Those are such a great idea! I love how you decorated them:)


What a fabulous idea! You did a super job! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with the FROG! I hope you will join me again this week! Plus, there is a HUGE giveaway included with this weeks party.
Hope to see you there!