“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

My son’s daycare uses a discipline method based on duck coloration.  If he is polite to his classmates, follows the directions of the teacher and behaves himself in general, his duck stays green for the day.

If he has to be asked more than once to follow directions, or is mildly disruptive, but follows correction, his duck is yellow for the day.

If he is particularly recalcitrant or the normal measures don’t correct his behavior, he gets a red duck – and let me tell you, these ducks are a particularly angry red.  I wouldn’t want to see on of those devil ducks next to my name.

This may sound like a rather trivial method of discipline to an adult.   I mean, what does the average 40-something really care what color laminated paper duck they choose to hang on a wall?  But, believe me it works.  We added our own extra incentive – a week of green ducks gets Harry a special surprise for the weekend.  It has been elaborate as Disney on Ice, or even as simple as a trip to McDonalds for Brownie Bites.  

Harry takes his duck color seriously.  On a week where he managed to stay green all week and slipped into yellow late Friday afternoon, he was noticeably distressed at that one yellow mark on his calendar.  He wants to earn that green.  Every day before school, we go over what he needs to do to get a coveted green duck.

While my mother was visiting, she noticed Harry napping on the couch and smiling in his sleep.  When he woke up, she asked him what he was dreaming about that made him smile so big.  

I was dreaming of green duck days…

May 14th, 2009 at 11:04 am
3 Responses to “Ducks in a Row”
  1. 1
    Deirdre Says:

    considering how literal he sometimes is, I was expecting you to say that he wanted yellow ducks because they were the right color for a duck.

    good method.

  2. 2
    OS Says:

    That is a beautiful dream, no doubt. 🙂

    Puppy’s class uses getting the train to the station. Super fun. And totally works. Mostly. lol

  3. 3
    Tari Says:

    They did this at my younger one’s preschool last year and it was magical! He went from being fairly disobedient at his former school to “super green panda” most of the year. Amazing that it actually works, but it does!