The idea is that in reinforcing good behaviour we encourage our children to gravitate towards that behaviour more often.
Positive reinforcement is a really helpful parenting tool for a number of reasons. It can improve your child's behaviour and lead to better family harmony all round. However, many of us are conditioned to highlight negative behaviour when it happens. For this reason positive reinforcement can take work, but the benefits make it worth investing time in.
Positive reinforcement is about putting a spotlight on positive behaviour and actions that our children display. The idea is that in reinforcing good behaviour we encourage our children to gravitate towards that behaviour more often. It can also improve overall family communication because in highlighting desirable behaviour you are implementing family values at the same time. These values and behaviours are skills that will benefit your child throughout their lives.
Knowing where to start with positive reinforcement can be tricky if you have been responding to your child in a different way. Here are some tips which should help you along the way.
When it comes to noticing your child's positive behaviour it is a good idea to start by noticing the small things. For example you might be disappointed that they didn't eat all of their vegetables but it is important to recognise if they tried something new.
Keep an eye out for behaviour that looks as though it is leading to something positive. Noticing that your child is opening their school bag could be met with
"Oh are you taking out your homework? Good boy"
Sometimes a little encouragement or inspiration is all that children need.
You Don't Have To Use Words
Positive reinforcement can be implied in a physical way. A simple high five or thumbs up can be a powerful way of noticing something that they are in the midst of doing. A hug is another great way to interact with them after some kind of positive behaviour or action has happened.
Reward charts are a brilliant way of ensuring positive reinforcement is an ongoing thing. It could relate to teeth brushing, homework or eating healthy foods. It puts a positive and tangible focus on a behaviour or change you would like them to present.
Take Advantage Of Listening Ears
Mention the positive behaviour to another adult when you know that your child is nearby (and mostly likely listening to you). They will experience the bonus of hearing that positive reinforcement from two sources.