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We all know how I feel about 3. I have a love/hate relationship with 3. I love seeing all of the new things that Ethan is learning and how his independence is growing. I love seeing how smart he is becoming and his true personality shining through. What I hate is the attitude? You know the one. The “I’m 3 and I know everything.” The “I’m the boss. I’ll do what I want.”
We have tried numerous disciplinary techniques. All of which this three year old has chewed up and spit out. Time outs no longer work (he knows he can just get up). Sending him to his room sometimes works but who wouldn’t want to go their room? It’s filled with toys! We’ve tried taking things away which only leads to an even longer temper tantrum.
Finally, I decided to start focusing on the good things he was doing, instead of the bad. This week we have implemented the “catch them being good” technique. When we catch Ethan doing good or being a big helper, he gets to pick a prize out of the prize box.
The prize box is filled with all kinds of Dollar Store Treasures (puzzles, drawing paper, little toys, etc) that are kept in the same basket. All of the prizes are wrapped so that he doesn’t know what is in the box.
We showed him the box earlier this week and explained the “rules”.
Rule #1 – You don’t ask for a prize from the box.
Rule #2 – You get whatever you pick. No trades.
Rule #3 – Only Mommy and Daddy can let you pick a prize from the box.
So far, so good. This week, Ethan has earned two prizes: one for putting his toys away in his room (without any prompting) and one for a great day at pre-school.
I’m not sure how long this system will last but it’s working for us now.