Monday, November 28, 2011

Quiet Jar

Our family's version of "time out" is a hybrid of the Love & Logic "uh-oh...bad decision" technique, confining to a quiet chair for the amount of time a child is old, and then having the offender apologize to the victim if applicable. Simple redirecting is a thing of the past now that Felix has a much more solid understanding of cause/effect and what is inappropriate behavior.

I won't say that we never use the quiet chair because my kids are angels, but we also don't use it willy nilly at every moment of misbehavior.

And I won't say that it works all of the time, but I convince myself that being consistent is what is most important...something I do struggle with.

The biggest trouble we have with the quiet chair is that no one is ever quiet on it. I think it needs to be renamed to "1-3 minutes in torture" chair. The boys usually scream. And luckily Miles thinks we have an imaginary tether when we put him in it (much like his bed in the morning), but Felix likes to flip the chair over and test our limits with getting up, all the while screaming like Daryl Hannah in "Splash" when she broke the TV screens while she was revealing her real mermaid name.

So when I stumbled upon the idea of a "thinking jar" on Pinterest, I decided to expand my arsenal of parenting techniques. I ended up linking to a great post on Meditating with Children and a recipe for a "mind jar" with an explanation as follows: "The goal is that when they are feeling out of control, they shake the jar, then sit and watch the glitter settle in the water. It is like our minds when we are angry, frustrated, things feel impossible--our minds and emotions are all shook up."

Quiet chair + Quiet jar = slightly less Darryl Hannah!

Here is our jar--shaken and settled:

I adjusted the recipe in that I made it with Miles and Felix who have a heavy hand when it comes to adding ingredients, which resulted in a sort of bloody-looking jar...

Felix filled the jar with warm water 3/4 way full. Then we each put in 1 big dollop of red glitter glue (I told you--really exact!). And then we Miles mistakenly put in an entire tub of silver loose glitter when we wanted just to put in a few shakes. I should have left the water clear, but Miles really wanted to put in food coloring, and I've been looking for ways to use our artificial/cheap food coloring up so I can replace with more natural dye for when we cook. Miles totally helped me on my mission and put in about 15-20 drops.  We also put in a jar of glycerin. Shook it all up, and voila! It doesn't take 5 minutes to settle, but about 3 minutes to completely settle.

(Please oh please...keep my children weak enough not to figure out how to open that jar and dump it on the rug.)


  1. oh yes! that is on my list of things to make. very soon, i think...

  2. First of all - kudos to you for trying to be consistent. It is very hard and no one succeeds all of the time.
    Second the jar is a wonderful idea! I hope it helps with those out of control times. The idea is not to "punish" but help children calm down so that you can deal with the problem behavior. If they are distracted and entranced enough with the jar (which they helped make), and it works, it is fabulous!

  3. I couldn't figure out where to get glycerin so I just used a bottle of baby oil with glitter and food coloring. It works wonderfully, and it also is plastic (Avi likes throwing stuff) and has a chilproof cap :)