Each morning, I put 20 vanilla wafers in a see-through jar. I call the girls over to me and tell them ONE behavior that we were going to work on that day. For example, today we are going to talk nicely to our siblings, or today we are going to pick up our toys when we are done playing, or today when Mommy asks you to do something you need to do it. Choose ONE behavior to work on for the day--whatever your children need help practicing.
At the end of the night, after dinner, the girls get to divide up the remaining cookies and eat them for dessert. If they have had a good day, there will be a lot of cookies to go around! If they have struggled that day, though, there many only be a few (if any) left to share.
As the children sit and eat their cookies, talk together about how the day went and offer lots of positive encouragement (even if the day went poorly). Ask questions like:
~How did we do today on practicing how we talk to one another?
~Did anyone have any times when they spoke kindly?
~Did someone speak kindly to you?
~How did it feel in our home when we spoke kindly?
~What can we do to be better at speaking kindly to one another?
~Tell the children examples of speaking kindly you witnessed that day.
If there are NO cookies left in the jar, still gather the children around the empty jar. Still talk, using the above questions. Tell the children that even though today was a hard day, you know that they can do it. Tell them that tomorrow you will be trying the same behavior again. The next morning, repeat the exercise!
~Use a small reward item! Vanilla wafers, individual gummy snacks, pennies, smarties out of the wrappers.
~Be sure that you make sure the child(ren) SEE YOU take an item out of the jar.
~Be sure to explain WHY you are taking an item out of the jar.
*I have a chores and money system for older kids (6+) that is modeled after this exercise called "Keep Your Quarters" you can read it here.