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The other night, Matt forwarded me a tongue-in-cheek article about a mom who gives her kids tips for good behavior, just like a patron leaving a few bucks behind for a restaurant server. I didn't entirely buy into the idea of cash for good behavior, but it got me thinking. What about a tips in the form of compliments, instead coins?
Before I went to bed, I took three empty jelly jars out of the recycling bin and labeled one for each of my daughters. I stuck a slip in each one with a sentiment in red ink, such as "thanks for reading to your sister," "good job brushing the dog," or "loved your smile when you nailed the backstroke today."
The girls noticed the jars right away the next morning, and reading the notes brought on big grins. Now I sneak in a new note or two each day, taking out the old ones so it's easy to find the newcomer.
Talie in particular likes to hear the lines of praise in her jar. Sometimes she'll say "I'll bet that'll be in my jar, Mom," when she knows she's done a good deed.
It's a small thing, but when the day gets helter-skelter and I'm too caught up in overflowing hampers, dog hair on the floor, and errands to run, the tip jar helps me refocus on the little bright spots of life with kids.