Our Reward System: The Reward Jar

We have tried many methods of bribery and corruption in our house to get Sydney to do things, or not do them, but the only thing that has been successful so far has been the introduction of her “Reward Jar”.

Sydney has a plastic old-fashioned sweet shop style jar that is in the lounge in a prominent place. Every time she does something good, or is well behaved she gets to choose a certain amount of coloured stones and put them in her jar. Equally if she does something naughty or isn’t well behaved, stones get taken away.

Sydney’s 3’s have been tricky – trickier than the 1’s and the 2’s actually. She has learnt to be defiant; to say “no” and to ask, “Why should I?” to most things. We got to the point where we needed something to encourage better behaviour and stickers stopped working as well as we couldn’t take them away once they were stuck on a chart.

I found the plastic jar, the coloured stones, as well as a personalised tag (from a pet collar seller!) on eBay.

BeFunky Collage

It took a little while to get into the swing of things, as there were times it felt like all we were doing was taking stones away and never giving them out. It felt like Sydney wasn’t doing anything good to earn the stones.

It turned a corner and really started to work a few weeks ago. It started by us asking Sydney what she would like to get once she had reached to the top of her jar. Prior to that she had just been promised “something” when she reached the top. She decided she would like a toy Spot the Dog, so we printed off a picture of one to stand behind the jar. Having a visual reminder of what she was working towards made such a difference. She became excited about the jar, and the stones and earning them. She was motivated to be well behaved.

We also started giving away stones for any kind of good behaviour – being kind, helping unload the dishwasher, asking for a drink politely, going to the toilet before bed without making a fuss, in fact, the tiniest glimmer of positive behaviour was rewarded. Some things only earnt one stone, but not sucking her thumb all day earnt twenty! As the stones started stacking up fast, when they were taken away for being rude or for pushing her sister, it actually had an impact on and even the threat of having stones taken away started to mean something.

I am not saying that this has solved all of Sydney’s behavioral issues, but it has helped massively.


  1. Thanks sinking for sharing this. The two’s here were a piece of cake but since he turned 3 a choke of weeks ao, eery thing seems to have changed! I feel that very soon we might need a touch of bribery! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • hahaha! Bribery and Corruption definitely work in this house! The 3’s have really been the worse so far! x

  2. This is a brilliant idea. My son is 3 1/2 and I think I am finding the ‘threenager’ stage harder too, he is just so defiant at times and I never know what to do. I think I am going to try this idea (if you don’t mind!) and see how we go with a reward jar! Popping over from #maternitymondays X

    • urgh…haha…not heard of “threenager” before, but that is exactly what it is! You should definitely give this a go. It has really, really helped this end! x

    • Ahh thanks! I got them from eBay…just searched for coloured stones and loads and loads of sellers come up. You can get them in so many different colours. You must do it! It has really helped in this house! x

  3. This is such a brilliant idea! I’m so going to remember this for when my little one’s old enough to understand. I love that the reward isn’t instant but that she’s working towards her prize. Thanks for sharing #maternitymonday

  4. Incredible how visual cues work, isn’t it. Thanks for sharing your experience of this lovely idea and I hope it works for a very long time to come. It’s definitely another item in the parenting toolkit to try. 🙂

    #MaternityMondays featured post 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comment! It is certainly still working here…Sydney is nearly at the top of her jar! So chuffed also to be #maternitymonday’s featured post 🙂

  5. This is a great idea, I like the idea of encouraging the really good behaviour, even just the littlest of things. I might think about this for my nearly 4 year old to get her to try and get dressed by herself, go to the toilet by herself and stop hitting her brother etc. I hear eBay calling! #PicknMix

  6. This is a lovely idea and as a teacher/senco I know how important it is to focus on and reward the positives. Sounds like it’s working. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

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