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  • 39 List – Make character & gratitude keys for the kids {Reinforcing positive behaviors}

    As a mom of 4, I was finding it easy to say the word “No” quite often.

    “No, you can’t watch a rated R movie.”

    “No, you can’t shove Trix up your nose.”

    “No, you can’t allow your little sister to ride her tricycle in the street.”

    “No!” “No!” “No!”

    I know my kids have grown tired of hearing that, so I started trying to consciously say “Yes” as much as possible. A little redirection and lots of teaching was involved, but I slowly am changing my parenting direction and seeing differences in our household.

    One of the things that is helping me is by developing ways to reinforce the great behaviors and attributes that we see in our kids. Jeff and I know that it is our primary responsibility to raise confident, independent, and responsible children. We are not perfect parents, but we try our best.

    So during our family breakfasts {which I will post next Friday}, we recognize our children for the positive things they did the past day, week, etc. They are presented with a key, which they hang on their door. Jeff and I tell them what we noticed about their behavior and try to be as specific as possible. It’s indeed a tad corny, but… it works!

    Of course, at first we had some eye rolling. But now, I find them excited to see what key they (and their siblings) will receive.

    ***Note, if you are not a crafty person… you can still totally do this. Don’t let the examples scare you. That is entirely not the point of these keys. Remember that!***


    I have keys from Pottery Barn and various vintage shops. I use extra journaling cards from my Project Life collection.

    Buttons, stitching, alphabet letter, ribbon, washi tape {use what you have}.



    Quotes and bible verses



    Die cut tags I bought from my local scrapbook store


    Leftover Christmas tags or ephemera

    {Emily received this for being a shining star at school. Her teacher sent home a note for being caught for a great behavior}


    Various journaling cards that I have found online {this is from Elle’s Studio}.


    The C was used for both compassion and courage.


    Avery shipping tag from Staples.

    If you are not crafty, you can simply attach these to keys and write your words on them. Don’t make this all about the craft. It really is the tool that our kids care about. I’ve never had a kid remark about the ribbon or “pretties”. The “Be enough” key is probably their favorite. It celebrates them for nothing other than being themselves. That’s telling.

    Blessings sweet friends – Jenny
    If you are new to this site, welcome! If you like what you see, I would love for you follow along on this crazy adventure of mine by subscribing to my blog above and joining me on facebooktwitter, and pinterest. I’m working hard to complete my life list of 1300+ items after surviving a battle with cancer. Specifically, this was one of the 39 items I want to complete before I turn 39 in November 2012.



    Nancy Wyatt


    4 February 2012 at 1:45 pm Reply

      Thanks Nancy – really happy with how they turned out.

      4 February 2012 at 2:27 pm Reply
    Jill C

    Now you can cross it off your list!! Yeah!! They are totally a great idea! Love them.

    4 February 2012 at 2:17 pm Reply

      I just crossed it off. That’s such a great feeling. And even a better feeling, when I really enjoyed it. Thanks Jill.

      4 February 2012 at 2:29 pm Reply
    sarabeth burke

    yet another awesome idea! keep them coming, hopefully if i have children one day i can try this too :)


    4 February 2012 at 2:19 pm Reply

      So simple. Those are often the best ideas I’ve found as a mom. Keep it bookmarked. Enjoy your time without children right now. Tis everything is a season!

      4 February 2012 at 2:31 pm Reply

    This is fantastic. Love it!

    4 February 2012 at 2:26 pm Reply

      Thanks Kristina. If you make them, send a picture to me and I’ll post it on my facebook page!

      4 February 2012 at 2:36 pm Reply
    Karen Moore

    What a GRAND idea! I am going to use this with my granddaughters when they come to visit. I know how hard it is to be “remember” to reinforce good behavior and you’ve come up with such a great way to do it!!!

    4 February 2012 at 2:29 pm Reply

      Thanks Karen. What a great idea. Perhaps I’ll make a set for my mom and mom-in-laws houses too.
      And maybe try some different traits like sharing and patience. Ooo… now the wheels are turning.

      4 February 2012 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Once Upon a Family sells keys like this. I’ve been wanting to get them so I could do this with my chickadees. I have a few old keys and I think It would e fun to make my own tags for them. Great project, thanks for sharing! =}

    4 February 2012 at 5:16 pm Reply

      Yes, that is the party I went to like a decade ago and saw a generosity key. I just wanted something a little less dainty. My kids are not dainty. :)
      I also wanted other character traits as I saw things I wanted to focus on. I have a key for intention, sparkle, dream,etc that I’m sure a company doesn’t have keys for.
      And I didn’t want all my keys to match – I have some old, some new, etc.
      Thanks Kathryn for reminding me of the name – it’s been nearly a decade probably since I saw it.

      4 February 2012 at 5:41 pm Reply

    I love these. My kids would to. To clarify, do make up a new key with words each week (or whenever) or are the cards permanent and which one they get depends on their actions for the week.

    4 February 2012 at 5:28 pm Reply

      I started with 7 and I have a couple of extra tags that don’t have keys yet (so I just cut the twine and replaced the tags). I will buy some keys as opportunities arise as there are other attributes that I want to focus on.
      For example, I really want to make a couple of tags for responsibility and patience. I have a P that I have used for perseverance and could use for patience if I needed to though.
      I’ve just been doing this probably 6 weeks, but only been consistent the past 2, so it is still a work in progress.

      4 February 2012 at 5:44 pm Reply
    Rachel Dallaire

    I *love* this idea. I think it would be awesome to do for the mr. even-or to send to my siblings. :-) Everyone needs encouragement and this is such an awesome way to do that. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    4 February 2012 at 7:40 pm Reply

      I completely agree Rachel. Everyone needs to be praised and edified, regardless if you have children. That is one reason that I’m going to start writing/sending more handwritten notes because they mean quite a lot to people. They take a bit more time and others recognize that.

      4 February 2012 at 8:10 pm Reply
    Galit Breen

    What a beautiful, meaningful idea!

    4 February 2012 at 11:52 pm Reply

      Thank you – it’s been such a simple project, yet Jeff and I are seeing such positive results.

      5 February 2012 at 5:04 am Reply
    Jenny S

    What an amazing idea! Love it! Kudos to you.

    6 February 2012 at 7:54 am Reply

      Thanks Jenny. Really seeing some great things with such a simple idea.

      6 February 2012 at 9:22 am Reply

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