Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Ticket Jar: A Tool for Character Development

Toddlers and character training......they go hand in hand, and something that you have to teach over and over and over again.  There must be something in the water around here, because exactly 1 year ago, I wrote about this very same topic (The Bunny System) .....apparently we need to revisit this and update on an annual basis.  Today I bring you, The Ticket Jar.The Ticket Jar- A Tool for Character Development- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
Our main concern with disciplining in our home is addressing the heart of the child.  Behavior is simply a reflection of what is going on in the heart so it is imperative for us to address the heart first with biblical principals.  "Behavior is simply what alerts you to your child's need for correction.  Don't allow the desire of changed behavior to replace your desire for a changed heart...Teaching children only to change their outward behavior is no more commendable than teaching a seal to jump through a hoop...When we focus on our children's outside behavior and neglect what is inside, we will cause our children to become manipulators." In order to address the heart, communication is necessary and the bunny system has facilitated us in communicating matters of the heart and changing the heart for improved behavior at a level my preschoolers can understand.Luke 6-45 with watermark
To update the bunny system and add more elements of character development, we have implemented The Ticket Jar.  After a great score at the Dollar Tree I found these raffle tickets.  I was so excited but I had no idea what I was going to use them for.  I even went live on Instagram just elated to have them, though I had zero purpose for them.  Well, we had a particularly grueling day last week, and those raffle tickets practically hit me in the side of my dry-shampooed head. 

Using a dry erase marker I drew a line on the jar, and I told the kids every time I observed them being "good bunnies" (based on the bunny system) I would add a ticket to the jar.  If they EARNED enough tickets to reach the line then they could have a fun-size bag of M&M's.  Every time I witnessed them being "bad bunnies" or disobedient, then I would take a ticket away.

Through a process of operant conditioning & shaping (you know this neuroscientist can't help herself!) we worked on our behavior this spring.  Initially they got a lot of tickets.  It was very easy for them to EARN tickets so that they would quickly understand the connection.  As the day went on, they had to do a little bit more in order to get a ticket.  So initially there were a lot of rewards (tickets), but with time they were spaced out and expected to do more in order to receive a reward.DSC_0164
Semantics matter with character development.  I want my children to understand that work ethic is important.  Working hard is an excellent way to stand out as different for the kingdom.  My kids do not deserve anything.  They do not deserve M&M's, but they can EARN them.  Just like when they get older, if they want money they will need to earn it at a job; they will need to work hard at that job.  When we talk about these tickets, I want my kids to know that they play a vital role in this ticket game.  The jar's contents are completely based on their behavior so I'm careful with the language I chose to describe the activity.  Just like they need to learn how to control their bodies and attitudes, they also have control over their work ethic and they need to manage their attitudes appropriately.Colossians 3-23
With the combination of biblical principals, the Bunny System, & the Ticket Jar, we've been working really hard with our preschoolers on having good character. listening, & obedience at home and in public.
What tools are you using that you could offer for help?
xoxo Darby

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