What, You Have a Child Who Won't Obey? Here's a great idea.

Do you have a child who won't obey? Are you frustrated and looking for a solution?

Here's a great idea - Pediatrician Approved

Introducing the YES/NO CAN
How does it work?

Every time you observe your child doing something good, showing obedience, putting away a toy, being kind to their siblings, making their bed, or brushing their teeth write the word YES on a small piece of paper and put it in the can or jar.

Every time your child talks back, doesn't obey, throws a fit, or does anything "not good" write NO on a piece of paper and put it in the Can.

Your can will start to fill up with lots of pieces of paper.

Now, this is when it gets good.
When your child asks for something, or asks to do something. Consult the CAN. For example, "Mom, can I have a play date?" or "Mom, can I have a popsicle?"

Reach into the can and pull out a piece of paper. What ever it says is the answer to their question. If it has been a week full of disobedience, there is not a very good chance they are going to get what they want.  

Your children will quickly learn that their behavior has consequences. This is also great because it takes the pressure off of you. You are not making the decisions, their actions are making the decisions. They will start to work really hard to make sure the can is filling up with YES's instead of NO's.

A few things to Remember...

  • Explain the process to your children before you start. Sit them down and using examples, make sure they understand. 
  • You will need a different can or jar for each child. 
  • YOU HAVE TO RESPECT THE CAN. If you are going to try this in your home you can't draw NO and then change your mind or you have just defeated the purpose of everything you are trying to teach your children.
What do you think? 


  1. Super idea! I love it. I will be trying this one for sure!!! Thanks. :)

  2. What a GREAT, GREAT, GREAT idea. I'm starting this little gem first thing tomorrow morning! My kids won't know what hit them.

  3. Family Home Evening Lesson tonight! Thanks for the great idea.

  4. Oh my goodness, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea! I'm so excited to get home from work tonight and try it!

    Thanks again for an awesome idea! :)

  5. I am absolutely going to try it. 100% yes. (I consulted the can, and the can is law.)

  6. Do you think this will work for a 3 year old or is he too young?

  7. i'm with jumpin J's three too young?

  8. I have the same question as Jumpin' J's Mom. Is 3 years old and 19 months old too young?

  9. I may not try this at home, but I immediately had a few of the students I work with pop into my head that this would be a perfect behavior modification to try!

  10. i have thought about this all day long. and i talked it over with my husband. I think it would sort of get lost in translation with my 3 year old. i don't think she would get the connection of the consequences with her behavior with this is a good one, and i will do it someday! so i think this is what i am going to do. maybe it will help out someone else. but i am going to get a jar and use m&m's. if she does what we ask and does the good behavior then she gets an m&m in the jar. if she doesn't do the right things then i take m&m's out of the jar. at the end of the day she gets to eat the m&m's that are in the jar for her little reward that day. you've probably written something about rewards like this are bad...but i am willing to try anything!

  11. We started this last night with my 4 1/2 year old and at first the concept seemed a bit difficult to explain to him, but once he got it, it worked great! :) (well, so far!)

  12. So glad so many of you are giving this a try. I do think that 19 months is too young. A child that age can't grasp the concept. 3 is probably pushing it also. A very very mature 3 year old, might be able to get the concept. A 4 or 5 year old shouldn't have any trouble catching on.

  13. Working like a charm at my house. I love it!

  14. Sounds good, but I have some questions:
    What do you do if you want to say no to something and you pull out the yes, or vice versa? I don't like giving up my control to a piece of paper. Is there a way you can over ride it without not being consistent?
    It also sounds like a lot of work to always be writing down yes and no. Is it?

  15. Andrea, I'm no professional, but here's what I would say: you don't consult the can on big things. If your kid asks if he can sleep over at a friend's house but you have a strict no-sleepover rule, you don't consult the can. Further, if they ask if they can play soccer in the street, you don't consult the can. But if they ask if a friend can come over after school, or if they can have a popsicle, then you consult the can. Get it?

    For me it hasn't been much work to write it down. I just printed out a bunch in Word and cut them up so I always have some already written out, and just pick one up and drop it in.


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