My seven-year-old son has a Bravery Jar. Each time he does something courageous or new, he puts a fuzzy ball inside a mason jar. Once it’s filled, he gets a reward.
I’m a big supporter of mason jar parenting. I’ve found it to be an effective tool for almost any parenting dilemma.
Is your kid misbehaving? Make a Good Choices Jar.
Are you starving for quality mealtime conversation? Make a Question Jar.
Are your kids being lazy around the house? Make a Chores Jar.
Does your family need a healthy dose of optimism? Make a Happiness Jar.
A few years back, when it seemed like the only three words my boys said were “I want that,” I made a Gratitude Jar. Every time I caught them in the act of doing something kind or gracious, they put a fuzzy ball in the jar.
Last fall, when my older son struggled at his new school, I made him a Happy Jar. Every time he found a silver lining during the day – a fun game in PE class, a birthday celebration, or extra recess – he put a fuzzy ball in the jar.
My younger son isn’t afraid to pour himself a bowl of cookies for breakfast (independence has a downside), but he is afraid to go upstairs in the house if I’m downstairs and vice versa. I’ve learned this is a common fear for kids, especially for one who spent the first six years of his life living in a one-story ranch home. Still, it’s frustrating and often times inconvenient to stop what I’m doing to chaperone him up or down the stairs a hundred times a day. Thus, the Bravery Jar.
Sometimes it helps, sometimes not so much. Nevertheless, it’s always illuminating. Case in point:
Kid: Can you walk me upstairs?
Me: I just sat down to eat. You need to be brave.
Kid: I was brave when I came down the stairs by myself. *pauses conversation to put fuzzy ball in Bravery Jar*
Me: You need to be brave again. I’ll come up in a few minutes to check on you. Plus, your brother is upstairs and the lights are on.
Me: You can do it.
Kid: I can’t.
Me: You can.
Kid: I can’t!
Me: You can.
Kid: How about I do this brave thing instead. *runs across kitchen, leaps in the air, lands on knees and elbows on hardwood floor, curls up into fetal position, moans*
Kid: Was that brave?
Me: No, that was stupid.
Kid: Can we make a Stupid Jar?
See, you can fix almost any parenting dilemma with a mason jar.