Fun way to help a child maintain focus and adherence to expectations!!

Positive behavior support is key to providing encouraging support for students with behavior difficulties. A fun way to provide this support is with marble jars. This support system works for kids of all ages and needs; whether typically developing or facing challenges such as ADHD or Autism. Simply obtain a large glass jar and marbles, set expectations, and establish a desired reward by the child. Always use positive language when developing expectations - for example: "Put away your toy when finished playing before taking out a new one" versus "Don't leave your toys out." Notice the first expectation is very clear and to the point. Designing expectations this way makes it easier to reward. When you catch your child meeting an expectation, give them a marble to put into the jar while telling them explicitly why they earned the reward. As the parent you will need to decide how many marbles it will take to earn the desired reward. REMEMBER - your child always earns marbles, we never take away marbles. A consequence for not meeting an expectation is built into the system - your child will not earn a marble when an expectation is not met. Expectations to help with schoolwork can include things such as checking their own work (depending on age), reading for a set time limit, using neat handwriting on assignments, or showing homework to parents to check. An important thing to remember is that when your child does not meet an expectation, that does not mean they do not have to perform the task correctly. Always remember to follow through with the expectation. For example, if an expectation is set for neat handwriting on all assignments and your child does not meet the expectation, they not only do not earn a marble but they must also redo the work with neat handwriting. Whining, moaning and complaining on your child's part might occur - simply remember you are the adult - chant to yourself, "I am in control." Never respond in kind; use a calm tone to repeat the expectation and let your child know you will be more than happy to provide attention when you see them meeting the expectation. If the attempted battle of wills by the child continues, provide them with a non-stimulating area of the house in which to calm down for a specific amount of minutes - a room void of toys & distractions or even a step on the stairs. Once they have calmed, reintroduce them to the expectation, but remember - a marble is not earned for this incidence. Make the amount of marbles necessary to earn a reward low at first, and then increase them as your child is successful. Once they have a taste or two of fun rewards, they will be HOOKED on this system. :)


Jennifer S.

Experienced Teacher - Elementary / ESL / HS Study Skills

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