11 May 2011

Go Green!

While we do recycle a little in Sacramento, "Go Green!" actually refers to a new feature at the Chandler and Kartchner home to help with discipline.

A few months ago Martie took the boys to a movie by herself. Jackson was not having the best day. You can tell because he starts sticking to a strict pattern, not able to go with the flow, and then when that gets frustrating throws tantrums. Reasoning always fails. Well, when I came back to the theater to pick everyone up, Jackson was crying and obstinate. It was raining, and we couldn't leave until Jackson was more calm and buckled up. It was chaotic!

After we finally arrived home, I decided that we needed a method to help us when we are away from home. When Jackson is at home, he is really good about knowing when he needs time in his room to calm down. He'll put himself in "time out!" Away from home, there is no place for time out. I remembered that my mom had told me how visuals sometimes help kids to understand when they are approaching trouble. One visual that she saw that worked well was a stoplight.

It works like a charm, even from day one! If Jackson is being a good boy, he is on green and when he does something good he can put a marshmallow in his happy jar! He LOVES marshmallows, and I can't believe how patient he is to wait for them until the end of the day! If we can tell that Jackson is approaching a melt down, we tell him, "Uh oh! Is Jackson on yellow or green?" Yellow means that if things continue as they're going, Jackson might have to turn over the red sign and lose a marshmallow. By the time it gets to red, Jackson will put himself in time out (if we're home).

Having this visual in the house makes it easier for all the kids to understand the consequences of behavior even when we're out doing errands! Even Sterling and Kaden want their own stoplights so they can know when they are doing good! Jackson LOVES to be on green and he will quickly change what he's doing if you suggest that he might be changing to a different color. We have one stoplight ring in both Martie and Amy's home to help continue the encouragement no matter where the boys are. I think this method is a keeper!

What you need to make your own stoplight:
Red, Yellow, and Green construction paper
a small bowl
a hole puncher
a binding ring
a pencil
a thumb tack for hanging

Use the pencil and bowl to trace circles out on the different colors of construction paper. Cut the circles and stack them uniformly. Then use your hole puncher to cut out a hole through all three and slip your binder ring through to keep the circles together. The binder ring helps so that you can easily flip between colors if behavior calls for it.

Hang the stoplight ring low, so your child can easily see it.

We also have a clean canning jar, which we decorated to keep Jackson's daily accumulation of marshmallows. Having this incentive helps to solidify the idea, but may not be necessary.