Recently we began a new system of encouraging good behavior and godly character qualities in the children. This idea is not original to me, but I read about it on another mom's blog. Anyway, each of our children has their own sticker chart on one of our family bulletin boards in our dining room. They are awarded little smiley stickers here and there when we want to point out and encourage a positive behavior, attitude, or character quality. The purpose is to encourage them when they are caught doing good. On the flip side we try to be consistent in disciplining sinful behaviors and lovingly leading them to the gospel message when they sin. However, a little encouragement can also go a long ways in spurring them on to do right. When any child gets a full row of smiley stickers "smileys" we award them one jelly bean out of our jelly bean container. They think this is so exciting! When a child fills up a complete chart we will probably give either a little change or a few jelly beans at one time.
One thing that is nice is that when one child is awarded a smiley all the children take notice. It is positive reinforcement for all the children. We give smileys for all kinds of reasons. Here are some recent examples:
"Abbie Joy, Mama noticed that you took your dirty jammies to the laundry basket! You could have left them thrown on the floor, but because you are helping to keep our house clean you get a smiley!"
"Guys, you all sat through our morning Bible reading very attentively. I did not have to stop my reading one time during that whole chapter. That is great! You all are going to get a smiley!"
Today Lauren asked for another chicken nugget, and Lilly Faith leaned over and gave her one of hers. I took that opportunity to talk about how we honor the Lord when we share and are kind. I announced that Lilly Faith would be getting a smiley when we got home. The funny thing is that Abbie Joy immediately felt prompted to share one of her chicken nuggets with Lauren as well. ;)
Yesterday we had an unplanned for showing of the house and had only a little time to prepare. Lauren jumped in and helped me clean, and so I gave her a smiley for working hard like a young lady and helping me.
There are many reasons we give smileys. Sometimes we have given a smiley to Lilly Faith for using the potty like a big girl. It is just a way of encouraging them when they do right. Now they certainly do not get a smiley every time they do something good. However, I think it is bringing some encouragement their way to keep looking for opportunities to do good!