With practice kids can do almost anything.

Marble jar is an app for iPhone and iPad that helps families break goals into small steps. Together you figure out “what” you are working towards (goal) and “how” you will get there (skills). Slide the slider to pick how many marbles you can earn for each small skill, and attach a related tangible goal.

As you practice the app helps you track progress, and once it is filled it helps you celebrate! This makes it great for building routines, character traits, increasing kids responsibilities, and working towards privileges.

Inspired by our Parenting on Track class, my husband and I began asking ourselves (and our kids) how our kids could take more responsibility for our household and their own lives.

Acting like teachers and facilitators rather than sherpas and task masters, our 2 and 4 year old began cleaning, dressing, cooking, saving money, and learning more about their role in the world outside our house as well.

Last week my now 6 year old sent me to a fundraiser with his allowance and my 4 year old cleaned every bathroom from top to bottom. Sure they still turn sticks into guns, whine that their backpacks are too heavy and add chocolate sauce to most recipes, but they face every big challenge with a “what will it take to get there” attitude…and that is worth celebrating.

I designed marble jar to be able to break large and abstract goals (being a good friend, treating the earth well) into measurable steps (up to ten smaller skills). Each goal comes with a great natural consequence (friends, a happy planet)- but also encourages the family to link it to a related tangible incentive (a sleepover, a camping trip.)

Marble jar can also be used to track routines (before bed I: put my clothes in the hamper, take a bath, brush teeth, pack my backpack) and unlock large one time privileges (what will it take for me to get a playstation?)

Hope your family finds even more ways to use it!

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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