Saturday 11 February 2012


Encouraging Good Behaviour in Children with Marble For A Cause Jar

Idea adapted from the book On Becoming Pre-Schoolwise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam

Age: From 5 years old

1. To encourage and celebrate good behaviour of children and promote harmony at home

2. To teach Fruit of the Spirt - Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, failthfulness, gentleness and self-control - in a fun way

- 1 jar
- 1 bag of marbles enough to fill the jar
- some stickers and a ribbon to decorate the jar
- Label for the jar with words "Marble For A Good Cause"
- A Fruit of the Spirit chart to define what each of the Fruit of the Spirit is in action and to give an example of each of them (not done yet, to be done)


1. Whenever anyone catches another family member doing something good, he gets to put a marble into the jar on behalf of the person. 

2. Explain to your child what it means to be "doing something good." According to the authors, Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the following actions are eligible:

- following through on a task is faithfulness.
- Not crying when a treasured candy is dropped and crushed in a carnival stampede is self-control.
- Playing nicely together for a prolonged period of time brings much-treasured peace.

- Sharing a new birthday present with another onlooker demonstrates love.Explain to your child what it means by "doing something good," e.g.:

For me, here are more examples:

- helping someone cross the road
- if you see someone falls down, helping the person up
- showing honesty, i.e. returning the change to the cashier, who gives you more change
- being kind to someone who is new in the class, outing or group
- talking with someone new, making he/she feels at home
- saying thank you sincerely and warmly to someone who does something nice for you
- showing someone consideration, even though you know that it is actually your turn
- comforting a child who is crying without being prompted
- cheering someone's day up
- showing appreciation for someone without prompting
- your child washing dishes without prompting
- cleaning up mess without prompting

3. Explain to your child too what is considered as ordinary chores and not under the category of "doing something good," e.g.:

- mommy washing dishes without being asked (our Little FECS wanted to put a marble into the jar, because I wash the dishes. If this is considered, than the jar will be full in no time!)

- Our Little FECS washing the dishes only when asked

4. When the jar is full, the family chooses something fun or special to do together, e.g.:

- going to a theme park i.e. Tivoli, Legoland,
- going to a cafe for a tea time or a special treat,
- going out for a special meal together e.g. hotpot at
- going to a movie together,
- sharing a big ice-cream together,
- boat ride,
- horse-riding, 

- going for a trip in a caravan, etc.

5. To avoid over dependency on rewards, some ground rules could be established as follows:

No one gets to put a marble into the jar, because he has done something good (I broke this rule). Someone else has to notice another's goodness. It allows opportunity during dinner for family members to share the good things other family members have done. When mom and dad agree that the thing mentioned is worthy of a marble, then the child gets to put it in the jar.

6. There must not be complaining if a child's good deed goes unnoticed to teach that sometimes life would be unfair. But we should be willing to do good things, not for the praise of another man, but simply because it is the right thing to do.

7. It is good to have a journal book to jot down the good thing each marble was dropped into the jar. Otherwise, it is easy to forget by dinner time.


Additional Information:

I am now on a mission to encourage my ADHD nephew JN, to give him a hope and a future that truly ADHD could be controlled and to get him on a good start and on the right course. But we had challenges between the brothers, R and JN, as they were very rude to each other this morning. JN meant well, but talked to R very harshly, such as: "GO AWAY", when R kept coming to disturb us, when we were re-organizing the study room to make it more conducive for ADHD children. Then R got angry and they started to fight!!! Oh dear, that was tough for me! I taught JN that he should stood down to R's level, looked R's in the eye and say "R, we are very busy right now, and thus we cannot have you here. Would you mind going out of the room please? When we are done, we would love to have you back with us" He tried.

By this evening, positive things happened that was a great encouragement to me. JN accidentally broke the lego model truck that R built. JN said sorry immediately. And R said that it was ok. As it was during dinner, I asked R to serve the Danish salmon sandwich (which I had prepared) on a plate to JN and he did. And JN said thank you. They had managed to be kind to each other.

I had in mind to introduce the Marbles for a Cause Jar, whereby if one member in the family did something praise worthy or kind, and someone spotted it, that person could put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full, the kids all get to get a special treat. Amazingly, I managed to find a cute jar this morning while cleaning up. A short walk in the neighbourhood that JN led us to the marbles easily, and I purchased them. And I could use the above incident as an example to explain our game to them. I put 4 marbles into the jar for the good actions by R and JN. Thank God for His help and faithfulness with all the challenges here. I have succeeded today and had a productive day, which I know it could not have happened without God's faithfully watching over us.

13.2.2012 Update

Today, the children all get to put in a marble each, for completing their homework, for getting the spelling test all correct (Cherilyn) and for JN, my ADHD nephew, I thought he deserved to put in 2 marbles instead, as he did the past year English exam paper without too much nagging and actually had completed more questions than I had expected him to do so, although I did not tell him that. That, in itself, was a major achievement and a giant step progress. It gave me great encouragement for deciding to make this trip here. My heart is filled with praise and thanksgiving for yet another answered prayer on my third day here. It brought great encouragement to me. Indeed, my labour has not been in vain.

On Becoming Pre-Schoolwise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam

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