Only in educator land does the acronym PBIS really mean much. That is unless your Dad is principal and Mom used to be a teacher. Then it becomes a way of life at home. (I’m sorry kids, you got two educators as parents!)
I’m writing this blog today because sometimes we get stuck in a rut. We keep running around like a hamster on a wheel trying to correct a behavior or redirect the same thing over and over without much success. We vent at night over a glass of wine as to why nothing is changing yet, we aren’t changing our responses either.
I recently visited a good friend’s house and her son was proudly showing me his sticker chart. She was telling me about the bedtime behaviors that were causing headaches at their house and how finally she had decided to pull out the old sticker chart method! Grass roots genius behavior intervention! And it was working! And what did I do, I went right home and made two sticker charts for some problem behaviors that have been driving me crazy!
It’s that sharing of what is working that I love so much about the community we have built on the internet.
It often reminds us of some really awesome stuff that we know but sometimes forget until we see it again and it jogs our memory! And so coming full circle, here I am writing about some other Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) that we use in our house that have been working. It is nothing Earth shattering, nothing fancy just easy and successful! (As a mom of 3 ages 4 and under, I need something quick and easy!)
In our home we have two mason jars sitting on our counter, visible to all and easy to reach by the older two children. We have filled one of the jars with a bunch of marbles. As we notice our children doing something great we compliment the behavior and tell them to go put a marble in the jar. Then they simply transfer a marble from one jar to the next.
Is it every time they do something stellar? No.
Do we have to remind each other every once and awhile to up the number of marbles being distributed? You bet! We are human and sometimes we forget.
But our kids have held on to this idea and are working as a team to refill the other jar. So if they are sharing nicely, clean up without being asked, follow directions, show acts of kindness, etc. they have the possibility to earn a marble or two. And you are probably wondering what happens when they fill the jar? (Or in our case since our kids are a bit younger we chose to give incentives when the jar is ½ full and when it is completely full to keep them engaged.)
Enter into play our Choices Menu (a.k.a. Marble Mania Menu).
As a family, we brainstormed some ideas of things they thought would be special for them to earn. (Again it is nothing fancy, just a piece of cardstock with circles. Inside the circles are the ideas the children helped us come up with.)
As some of you may know from previous blogs, I’m not a big fan of candy and sweets as rewards. Totally a personal preference. Don’t get me wrong we do eat sweets and a few of the ideas they brainstorms were edible which is totally fine, I just didn’t want all of the rewards to be sweets. My husband on the other hand, is not a fan of all the toys and “things” around the house so that eliminated the idea of something tangible most of the time.
Therefore we wanted most of the choices to be experiences for the children. They didn’t have to be “big” experiences either.
Some of the things on our chart include a mom or dad date, visit the children’s museum, go to the park, paint, bake, spend the night at Mema’s (grandma’s), go to McDonalds, etc. This does mean that some of them are not instantaneous rewards but, when we do get to do the item they chose we make a big deal about making sure they know that they earned this together from all their hard work and good choices. Once we do a choice, the girls color in the circle to eliminate that one from the menu. Pretty simple, yet effective in our house.
Voice Level Chart:
The other thing that we needed to put into place at our house was a voice level chart. After our third baby was born, we felt like we were always telling our children to use quieter voices especially during rest time. We then decided we needed to be a little clearer as to our expectations of their voice level during different times of the day. We hung a poster on our refrigerator so that we could refer to it often. (Refer to the picture below.) We talked about different voice levels and practiced what they sounded like. Then we came up with times that each level should be used. Now they seem to have a clearer idea of what is expected, and I can quickly remind them with a number what level they need to be at. And as an added bonus, they will use the same number/voice system again when they enter school!
We think good behavior systems need to have balance.
So there you have it, our home PBIS. Simple yet effective and best of all keeps a positive spin on behaviors.
Do you have a behavior system that works really well at your house? Share it with us! Leave it in the comments! We would love to hear what you are doing! Also, if you like what you are reading spread the word and feel free to share our blog with others.