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DIY 'Clean Up Your Act!' Punishment Jar Craft (Free Printables)

DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar tutorial with free printables |
Our children turned 8, 8, and 11 this January.  Like many children, they are always testing their limits. We find that the reward and punishment systems we use need to change as our children change.  It seems that every system we try is highly effective at the beginning and, as the novelty of the rewards and the punishments decreases, so does the effectiveness of the system.

One evening, my husband and I were discussing how we needed different punishments because our old system, which would charge a fine for doing certain no-no's, was losing its effectiveness.  Then we joked about how much better it would be if we had a big wheel that the children needed spin to see what their punishment would be for their most recent offense.  Since then, we decided to separate their system for earning allowances and their system for earning punishments.  We determined variety is the key to prevent the children from becoming accustomed to the punishments, thus making them less effective.

Since we couldn't construct a giant wheel, I decided a punishment jar would work just as well.  Now normally, we do not give chores as punishments because that is partially how our children earn their allowances.  That being said, there are some things, beyond normal everyday chores, that only get cleaned once or twice year.  Those kinds of things would make perfect punishments and they make our house cleaner.  Two birds, one stone . . .

Today's Project:  'Clean Up Your Act!' Punishment Jar


a jar with straight sides (approx. 5" tall)
printable 'Clean Up Your Act!' jar label
printable 'Clean Up Your Act!' craft stick labels
glue stick
thin permanent marker
DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar how-to with free printables |

Step 1.  Be sure your jar is clean and dry. (We reused a talenti gelato container we had just polished off.)

Step 2.  Print and cut out the label that best fits your jar.  Apply a thin layer of glue to the backside of the label, making sure to get all the edges.  Then position the label as desired, press down, and smooth out the label.
DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar how-to with free printable labels |

TO PRINT:  Be sure your printer is on and ready to print.  Click on the desired image to enlarge.  Right-click on image to select "print."  Then use your browser's back button to return to this page.

DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar craft free printable jar labels | DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar free printable craft stick labels |

Step 3.  Print out one sheet of craft stick labels for every 10 punishments you have.  Carefully cut where you see > or <.  When you're done, you should have 10 individual labels per sheet.

Step 4.  Fold the labels around your craft stick, doing your best to center them.  Then apply glue to secure them.
DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar craft free printable craft stick labels |

Step 5.  Using a thin permanent marker, write one punishment per craft stick inside the red frame.  Then put all the sticks into the jar.

How has this punishment jar worked out for us?  For the past 4 weeks, each time our children did something that warranted a punishment, they would close their eyes and pick a punishment out of this jar.  After the first few punishments, they soon realized that they probably should avoid racking up too many.  These punishments take time to complete, which takes time away from other more enjoyable things.  We've also made the rule that, if there are punishments pending, they would not have access to any electronics until the punishments have been completed.

I started out with about 17 punishments in the jar and soon realized that, with 3 children who would get in trouble multiple times a day sometimes, 17 was not enough.  If you have multiple children, then I recommend coming up with as many different punishments as you can, otherwise  they will start choosing the same ones over and over again.  How many times do you need your windows washed in one week, right?

Here are a few ideas for punishments to get you started.  Obviously, you would need to use your judgement based on the age and abilities of your children . . .

  • Donate 10 toys
  • Wash the windows on the first or second floor
  • Clean the shelves on the fridge door
  • Clean the fridge shelves and drawers
  • Clean the floor around and behind the toilets
  • Clean the baseboard heating covers
  • Clean the windowsills
  • Clean the floor under the litter box
  • Clean the microwave
  • Find 10 dust bunnies

Like this idea? Pin it for later!
DIY Clean Up Your Act punishment jar how-to with free printable jar and craft stick labels |

As always, if you try out this idea, let us know how it goes and if you've thought of ways to improve on it!