Taken from my new Marble Jar FAQ page!

1. The checklist or routine jar.

This jar gets completed each day. It helps you get to bed, or get out of the house in the morning. The goal is simply the last step of the routine: usually free time, or a backrub at bedtime. The actions are the steps. Bedtime Jar- bath, teeth brushing, pack backpack, clothes in hamper, tidy room. Goal: backrub

2. The Privilege Jar

This unlocks a one time privilege like a later bedtime, adding a dog to the family or getting a wii. Together you decide what actions it will take for everyone to demonstrate that they are ready for this privilege. To adopt a dog you might decide that for 30 days you will get up 20 minutes earlier (time for walk) lay out snacks for one another (to practice feeding dog) water the plants (to practice caring for living things) all without prompting. After 30 days if the marble jar is full your family will be able to celebrate with a new dog. Plus you get to enjoy all of that dog hair.

3. The “best self” jar

I am borrowing this phrase from the same kindergarten classroom that gave me the idea for the marble jar itself. I shy away from the term self improvement, but clearly I believe in it whole-heartedly. In this case you can use the marble jar to help frame the conversation about what it means to be a…good friend, caring brother, scientist, environmentalist, true collaborator. Then you take these big terms and break them into observable steps. Being a collaborator includes 1. asking questions 2. offering suggestions 3. deciding together 4. celebrating each other. 4. solving problems  After you have described those actions you can all hunt for examples within the family. Maybe look for 8 examples of each action. When the jar is full celebrate with a trip to a ropes course.

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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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