English: Picture of marbles from my collection

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Recently, I had been taking away toys for my 3-year old son’s bad behaviour but then returning them for good behaviour. My friend, a child psychologist questioned this method. She suggested that I separate negative consequences from rewards as giving toys back for good behaviour might undo the lessons I was trying to teach him when I removed the toys in the first place. Her recommendation was that I continue to remove toys for bad behaviours, perhaps returning them after a day/week but that I should reward good behaviour in a different way. One idea that she suggested that seemed easy to implement was putting a marble in a jar for good behaviour and then when the marbles reach the top of the jar, giving a reward. I have told my son he can choose a reward such as going to Thomasland when the marbles reach the top of the jar and he seems really enthusiastic about the whole idea. One thing I really wanted to change was how quickly my son gets ready in the mornings so I have told him that he needs to brush his teeth without a fuss and get his own pants and trousers on and he will get a marble. We have been rewarding my son with marbles for almost a month now, and my son consistently gets his own pants and trousers on, brushes his teeth, washes his hands after the toilet and gets ready for bed quickly, all things I was struggling with before. I do have to remind him that he needs to do these things to receive a marble but ultimately, the marbles seem to be working. What surprises me is that he is still persevering at getting the marbles even though he is only halfway to receiving  his reward.

My book  ‘Psychology for Parents: Birth to teens’ is on sale as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords.com.

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