Saturday, November 14, 2009

the manners jar...

... I am so sick of reminding Emory to say, "yes ma'am" or "please" or to get her to answer a question the first time I ask it. Or to give me an answer other than "I don't know." We've been kind of hemmin'and hawin' around here as to what the best approach to this would be. I'm terribly uncomfortable with some sort of discipline because it is not really outright defiance. It is a preference for me that my daughter have good manners. But, I am sick, sick, sick of reminding her of what her manners should be. So sick, in fact, that at lunch I had to walk away lest I lose the ole' temper.

Sooooo, after talking to my husband, we've decided to take a positive approach to this issue. Emory potty-trained in a week because we used M&M's.... this kid has a serious sweet tooth! So, I just happened to have a bag in the house that were originally destined for Uncle Wayne in Afganistan. We'll get him another bag, this one has a different purpose. We sat Emory on the couch and explained that every time she is caught using good manners she will get 1 M&M.

Every time I call her name and she finds me with a happy heart and a "yes ma'am" she gets an M&M. Every time she answers a question the first time it is asked she gets an M&M. Every time she uses a polite word - please, thank you, yes ma'am, no ma'am - she gets an M&M. We practiced a couple of times to show her what we were talking about and she was all about this new idea.

Ahhh... I feel a burden lifting off my shoulders already. This gives her the responsibility to remember her manners on her own and I am freed up from the broken record of reminding her - I simply won't do it anymore. Yet, I get to rejoice with her in a tangible way when she does remember. Now, the goal is for me to remember to catch her using good manners so I can rejoice with her. How long will she get a reward? As long as it takes for this to fully become a habit - just like potty training.


Olivia said...

Good idea! We have the same struggle with Anna Ruth. Getting her to say "Yes, mommy/daddy" after we tell her something, and "please/thank you" is so tough! And yes, very frustrating and tiring. We did do some disciplining for the "Yes, mommy/daddy" stuff, and it has helped. But I do like the idea of a reward system, too. She does well with that for saying her catechism and Bible verses.

Renie said...

Mind if I borrow this idea? Philip is polite, if he will ever freakin' listen and come when he is called. What kind of jar would you call that? "Move Your Little Butt Jar"?