Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Behavior Coin Chart: Toddler In Action

Well, it's that time again! I am making my third Coin Chart! 
I decided to revisit the topic and do a post on why we are doing the Coin Chart system with our 2 year old son Garren and how it is helping. 

Having four children is so much fun. There is always something going on! On the other hand, since there is always so much to do, I feel a lot of times I can't focus on the positives and just get stuck on dealing with the negative. It's so tough remembering to acknowledge when your child says "please" when the next minute they are yelling "shut up". 

The other situation I have been dealing with this time around is having older siblings who also have to deal with the behaviors of their toddler brother. I have to constantly remind them that he is still little and learning how to behave while at the same time listening to their feelings on the matter and not letting Garren get away with negative behaviors toward them. They have been feeling like Garren never really gets punished for hitting them or throwing things at them. 
Also, my older two children earn an allowance and can save up to buy the toys they want. This makes it easy when going to the store. If they want something and have the money, they can buy it. I hardly ever have fights with them about buying things that they want. However, Garren has now hit the age where he wants to go look at the toy section and ALWAYS wants to take something home with him! He has no way of earning money himself so I'm at a loss with helping him understand that he can't just get a toy whenever he wants. 
How can I help my toddler understand that he can earn the toys or activities he really wants to do, put more focus on the positive behaviors he is showing, AND help all of my children have more positive interactions with each other on a day to day basis?!? 
One simple answer came to mind.......this behavior coin chart!!!

I found the old chart that both of my other kids have used and covered the lower half, under the coin pockets, with a blank white sheet of paper. Garren got to look at his older siblings coins and see if he wanted any of them before we made new ones. He chose three of Brenden's old coins: Spiderman, Hulk, and Buzz. We then made three new coins from some of his favorite characters: Avengers, Batman, and Big Hero 6. 
   
EVERY TIME I start this system out, I wonder if my child will understand it easily. They always seem to catch on after a day or two. I have to say it has only been a week and this has immensely helped everyones interactions with Garren! The main reason I did this post is to give you specific examples of how we are using the chart to help Garren, a toddler!

First area this really helped was with Garren's language. He had been saying "shut up" ALL THE TIME! We have even considered washing his mouth out!! The first time he lost a coin was because he said this word... I said "ah oh, we don't talk like that. You are going to need to go get me a coin from your chart." He stopped what he was doing and ran and got me a coin. When he gave it to me I was sure to say, "Even though you lost this coin you can always earn it back! I know you can do it!"
From the moment he lost the coin I was watching him and looking for ways for him to earn the coin back. This is one of the main reasons why I love this system, it helps to get you to focus on the positive behaviors and even reward them for it!

It's a time of transition and learning in a child's life when they become a BIG brother or sister! For the past 5 months Garren has been adjusting to having a baby brother around the house. For the first month or two we had to show him that we don't "touch" the baby with a closed fist! I posted something on Facebook that I heard myself say after implementing the Coin Chart to Garren. I said, "We don't Hulk Smash the baby or you'll lose a coin!" This actually got him to stop for the moment!!!  LOL
Although we have our ups and downs I am definitely blessed that he LOVES his baby brother!
   

The other area I have really been seeing a change in is just simply listening to me and doing what he is told. Its great to finally have ONE system that helps give a natural consequence to any of the negative behaviors I don't want Garren repeating.

Here is my sweet boy on the first day starting his coin chart.
Since we started the chart, all of the kids get so excited to check the chart to see if he kept  his coins on it from the day before! It's so fun to see his older siblings praising him for doing a good job. 
We have already started talking about what he wants for his goal. He has had his eye on a large Incredible Hulk figure but his big sister Kiki is trying to convince him that he wants to go out for doughnuts! The great thing about this is when he sees something he likes when we are out, I will tell him, "If you really want that you CAN get that when you reach your goal! Just keep doing a good job and you can earn it!" Then I just remind him of how many stickers he has left to earn before his goal. Here is a picture from a trip to Target where I let Garren JUST LOOK at the toys and we left WITHOUT a meltdown! 
If you want to know more about this system click HERE to see my original post!
The most important thing to know about any kind of behavioral system is that you make it your own and for it to work YOU must follow through with the guidelines.
From the time I posted this Coin Chart System, over three years ago, many other people have made the system their own. Click HERE to see some of those examples!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chocolate Cake Box: A Substitute For Eggs & Oil

I posted about this idea on Facebook a few months ago and there were a lot of people interested. I heard you can sub out the oil and eggs on a chocolate cake box mix for a can of black beans. 
I decided to try it and let you know how it turned out.
All you need is a box of chocolate cake mix and a 15oz can of black beans!
   
I didn't drain the can, I just dumped the whole thing into my food processor and blended it up.
All you have to do after that is follow directions with the pureed black beans as a substitute for the eggs and oil!
This tasted SOOOOOO good! Everyone in my family loved the cake! 
I will also give you my FAVORITE butter cream icing recipe!
This is what I put on top of the cake. 
Just click HERE to get it. It is from my Lavender Blueberry Cupcake recipe so just omit the lavender in the icing.
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