The most important thing in making your Discipline Jars is to get your kids involved. Sure, I could’ve made them on my own in half the time. However, having the boys decorate their own jars gave them a sense of ownership, it was a useful craft activity (I’m all about functionality in crafting), and it gave us a fun family project.
- 1 sheet of scrapbook paper for each child. (You will want a different color for each child and could even let them pick it out themself. Note: scrapbook paper won’t fade like construction paper)
- 2 Mason jars for each child
- Colored pebbles or marbles
- Optional: Ribbon or string, hole punch
How to Make Discipline Jars
Give your child a very brief explanation of what you are making. “We are going to make jars to help remind us to be good. You get to decorate it first and then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do with the jars.”
Trace both of your child’s hands on the scrapbook paper.
Decorate! Give your child stickers and let them get busy decorating both of their Mason jars. Meanwhile, start cutting out the outline of your child’s hands. After you have cut out the hands, label one as “Good” and the other as “Naughty”.
Write on the hand cut-outs. By this time, the child should have their jars decorated. Now is the time to go into a little more detail on what the jars are about. (If you’re kids are like mine, they’ve already asked you a dozen times what they are going to do with the jars and “what we going to put in these, Mommy?”
Explain that the jars are going to help remind us to be good. “Each of you get a ‘Good’ jar and a ‘Naughty’ jar. I know that you guys are good boys, but sometimes we do naughty things and then you get in trouble. This is going to help us so you don’t get in trouble.”
The ‘Good’ Hand. Show the kids that you used their handprints and labeled one as good and the other one as naughty. “Let’s talk about some good things that we do. What are things that you do that are nice and good?”
Examples we wrote on the ‘Good’ hand:
- Listen to Mommy & Daddy
- Stay in bed (this is when we were having a tough time of getting Connor to stay in bed)
- Use a quiet/inside voice in the house
- Say “please” when you want something
- Say “thank you” when someone gives you a compliment or does something nice for you.
Reiterate how these are the things that are good that we should practice doing all the time.
The ‘Naughty’ Hand. “Our other jar is for the naughty things we do. We’re going to write on the back of the ‘Naughty’ hand some things we need to work on. These are the things that get you in trouble.” Then ask each child individually “What should we write on the ‘Naughty’ hand? What are some things we should have you work on so you don’t get in trouble?”
I wrote the word “NO…” on the top and made bullet points under it.
Connor’s ‘Naughty’ items:
- Yelling or screaming
- Telling Dylan what to do (I explained there is a difference between helping Dylan or showing him how to do something and bossing him or telling him what to do or how to play)
- Saying mean things
- Talking back
- Pulling on himself (When Connor gets put in time out, he often pulls on his clothes and fingers to act nasty.)
Dylan’s ‘Naughty’ items:
- Getting out of bed
- Talking back
- Pooping in underwear
I also explained to them that Mommy sometimes needs to be reminded to be nice too. I showed them the ‘Naughty’ hand I had cut out for myself and we talked about the items going on my list.
Divvy up pebbles. I bought 3 bags of these beautiful multi-colored pebbles at Hobby Lobby. (These are back in the cement mold section. You could also use the shiny stones in their floral department or marbles.) I counted them all and had the boys count with me. We found out we had enough for each of us to have 70 pebbles in our ‘Good’ jar.
Explain how the system will work. Work out the details on how you are going to implement this new system. This will take some time and a lot of consistency on your part. Stay strong. Follow through!
Coming up: Discipline Jars – Part 3: How we implemented them