Positive Reinforcement

Praising a child sounds so easy. Don’t we all tell our children how wonderful they are? How well they did on a test or accomplished a task? Don’t all parents constantly praise their children? Why read up about positive reinforcements? Isn’t verbal praise a natural occurrence for all mom’s and dad’s? The answer, sadly, is “no”. We often forget to acknowledge the everyday “good stuff” our children do. We get so caught up in everyday life, busy schedules, and bad behavior we forget to praise. We forget to say, “Job well done”!

Positive reinforcement is not only an effective way to reward good behavior, it is also an excellent technique to acknowledge your child’s good qualities and helpfulness. Just a simple “thank you” from mom and dad (especially for teenagers) is a great way to encourage your child to continue the good deed. Below is a list of positive reinforcement suggestions I have gathered over the years.

1.) Leave notes around the house for older children (perhaps a note on their pillow, in their lunch box, a note on the bathroom mirror.)

2.) Face your child and maintain eye contact when speaking.

3.) Always allow your child to finish talking and complete his/her sentences.

4.) Help your child learn to talk positively. Model positive reinforcement statements to friends and families.

5.) Try to start your statements with a reinforcing statement, such as, “Alice, you are a very bright girl, now let’s talk about the best way to get your homework finished”. People are more responsive to positive statements, but make sure your compliments are truthful. Children, as well as adults, will see through false flattery.

6.) When asking for children’s help in cleaning up, start your sentence with, “Now let’s see who the best listeners are.” Or “Who are my best helpers?”

7.) Give your children a loving statement when they least expect it. For example, “you make me so happy, “I love being your mother”, “I was just thinking how terrific you are”, “I love being your father”, “I really like playing with you”, “I really enjoy spending time with you”

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