Behavior Beads

I have to say that I’m blessed with a really well-behaved child…most of the time.  Little Crafter has a really gentle spirit, a kind heart, and is pretty laid back about most things. 

But he’s also 3.  Which means that sometimes when he doesn’t get his way, he has a little hissy fit.  And sometimes he pushes the limits to see how much he can get away with.  Occasionally he throws things and lately he’s acted out by hitting me a few times.  He thinks it’s funny.  We don’t.  It’s always tough as a parent to figure out what consequences are appropriate for what transgressions and how to constructively discipline a child.  The other day, I came across an idea I really liked at Sunla Designs, and decided it was worth a try.  So far it’s working really really well!  Here’s our take on it:


Materials: bag of beads {we used pony beads}, ribbon or elastic

Monday morning: Little Crafter picks seven pony beads out of a bag and strings them onto a piece of blue ribbon.  We tie it and make it into a necklace.  I explain the rules and make him repeat them to me.

If I’m naughty, Mama takes away 1 bead.
If I fuss about her taking it, I lose 2 beads.
If I go a whole day without losing a bead or if I do something really really good, I get an extra bead.

Then, he helps me choose rewards that will motivate him.  Here are ours.
If I have at least one bead left on Sunday, I get a lollipop.
If I have 7 beads left on Sunday, I get a lollipop and an extra bedtime story.
If I have more than 7 beads left on Sunday, I get a lollipop, an extra story, and a new book.

Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Monday: Little Crafter displays amazing behavior all day, even when another child repeatedly tries to take his toys away during a playdate.  He has fun at the carnival but doesn’t whine when it’s time to leave.  Just before bed, he gets to pick an extra bead.

Tuesday: We have a pretty good morning, but things go downhill when I try to have a phone conversation with one of my best friends {Short Jess the bead queen} who just had a baby boy last night!!!  Squeeeal!  Little Crafter wants attention, so he bops his head and throws his necklace.  Loses a bead.  This is very unpleasant for him, but he doesn’t throw a fit.  His behavior is exemplary the rest of the morning and afternoon.  He even willingly goes to his least favorite store, Target, with me to buy baby Isaac a present and helps me pick it out.  He doesn’t complain when I tell him he can’t have any of the fifty toys he picks up from the shelf and wants to take home.  He voluntarily spends time working with me on his preschool workbook and does a fantastic job.  He will get an extra bead tonight for that, but he doesn’t know it yet. ;)

We’ll see how many beads he ends up with on Sunday!  I’ll keep you posted!  I wanted to go ahead and share the idea, though, because it’s just been so effective thus far…every time he starts to pout or fuss or be disobedient, all I have to do is say, “Oh, do you want to lose a bead?” and the behavior changes in an instant.  I mean in the blink of an eye!  It’s crazy what a toddler will do for a lollipop…

Maybe I can convince hubby to do the same thing with me and come up with some Mama-appropriate rewards…a pedicure, a dinner date, a pair of new shoes…this could work!

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8 comments on Behavior Beads

  1. Sunla Designs
    August 16, 2011 at 7:39 PM (4 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing! I’m so excited when I hear this works for other mommies!


  2. Amanda Joy
    August 16, 2011 at 8:12 PM (4 years ago)

    Great idea! I hate the hissy fits. Asher sounds like a maimed cat, and Abbie throws herself to the ground. I hate feeling like I am constantly getting after them, and this would help make it a choice with a tangible consequence. I will have to try this:)(…soon)

  3. Terry
    August 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM (4 years ago)

    Great idea as usual, Amy. I love this and have passed this on to my sister-in-law. My nephew is so sweet, most of the time, but I wonder if this would help with the rest of the time. :)

  4. Lindsay
    August 17, 2011 at 2:12 AM (4 years ago)

    This is a great idea! One I could really benefit from with my 3 & 5 year old. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Tammie
    August 17, 2011 at 4:29 PM (4 years ago)

    Wonderful idea! I bet this could even be tweaked to work in preschool classroom settings. Thanks for posting!

  6. Nicole@Thrifty Decorating
    August 19, 2011 at 2:04 AM (4 years ago)

    Loving the mama bead reward system! Great idea! Reading your post, I am kind’ve thankful to be past the toddler stages! :)


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