In order to cope with the terrible twos we introduced the pasta jar into our house. Simple enough concept. Every time Izzy was ‘good’ she got a piece of pasta, and once the jar was full she got a reward, from a new colouring book or small toy to a trip to the cinema.

It worked well at first, but the idea of what constituted ‘being good’ was a bit vague and open to negotiation. There was inconsistency and the novelty wore off.

When we reintroduced the pasta jar just for potty training it worked much better. There was a clear rule for when pasta was given – and when she had an accident she was reminded that next time she would get pasta if she used the toilet or potty.

Now we feel the pasta jar has served its potty training purpose, Izzy’s new magnetic reward chart arrived in the post today. Its got a whole load of suggestions for how children can ‘earn’ stars, but we have learned from the pasta jar experience and are going to focus on a couple of things at a time. Like brushing her teeth nicely at bedtime and staying in her bed.

I’m aware there is mixed opinion of reward charts – yes, it is bribery, and yes, it is rewarding kids for doing something that should be normal behaviour – but sometimes they need encouragement to develop good habits. And for things like getting dressed and picking up toys I’d much rather reward for doing them than punish for not.

Plus if it means Izzy actually does as she’s told for once I’m willing to give it a try!

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