How to Use Positive Reinforcement for Children

Optimal mental, psychological and physical development can be achieved in children by discouraging anti-social behaviors and disobedience. This can be done by reinforcing good attitude and discouraging unhealthy values. Reinforcing positive behaviour help children feel pleasant about the choices they make, which in turn motivates them to further polish the behavior that brings them rewards. Positive reinforcement and praise results in the production of both short-term and long-term benefits as it can enable children to learn habits that will be beneficial and fruitful throughout their lives.

Why Should We Use Positive Reinforcement for Children?

1. Children Need Verbal Affirmation

It’s simply a way of encouragement, letting the child see how you have recognized and appreciated his efforts. Simply by saying ‘I love the way you keep your room tidy’ can make your child strive to do things that will please you more. Children always look forward to doing things that grant them the sense of self-worth and validity.

2. Contribute to Self-Esteem

Punishing your child to improve his behavior might make him associate it with being a bad boy. Contrary to that, positive reinforcement boosts your child’s self-esteem. Therefore, rather than categorizing himself as a bad boy, try to use positive reinforcement which assists him in building confidence and morale.

3. Boost Character Development

Positive reinforcement escalates your child’s motivation greater than expected, instead of getting along with minimized required effort for avoiding any punishment. Likewise the rewards and incentives teach the children that positive behavior brings along fruitful consequences. Therefore, it can be said that by positive reinforcement, the personal responsibility in a child may significantly enhance.

4. Good for Making Behavioral Choices

Positive reinforcement has one of the most beguiling benefits in children and that is “effective”. In other words, it serves as preventative medicine for the misbehavior that your child might display. Therefore, rather than punishing the child, positive reinforcement can make he feel motivated to collect kudos and praise prior to making any behavioral choice.

5. Stimulate Their Intrinsic Motivation

Positive reinforcement assists in creating an intrinsic motivation for the child’s good behavior. This promotes the child’s good behavior because he seeks praise and good feelings, instead of thinking he might get in trouble if he didn’t behave well. This implies that you minimize scrutinizing every movement of your child and allow him often to make his own choices.

When Is Positive Reinforcement for Children Most Effective?

With the correct use of positive reinforcement, effective results can easily be grasped. Utah State University published a behavioural guidelines checklist, according to which, positive reinforcement turns out more effective by using it right after the behavior.

Furthermore, the guidelines recommended that the frequent occurrence and enthusiasm is required for effective positive reinforcement. The connection will turn out to be stronger if the time period between the behaviour and positive reinforcement presentation is shortened. With an elapse of a longer time period between the behavior and reinforcement, the connection will consequently become weak.

How to Use Positive Reinforcement for Children

A number of ways exist for a behavioural reinforcement. And most of them cost nothing or need fewer efforts. Positive reinforcement does not necessarily have to be some concrete item. You can simply do it by cheering and clapping, giving thumbs-up, patting him on the back or hugging him tightly, offering praise and giving a high five.

Listed below are the tips you may need for how to use positive reinforcement:

1. Show Your Feelings When Rewarding Your Child

When your child does something that you like, reward him by nodding or smiling, so he could know that you are pleased with what he did. Hugs can be rewarding as well. While praising the child, keep your mind focused on your own feelings rather than being judgmental about the child. Like when you see your kid helping other kids at the childcare, you may say “I saw how you were helping other kids, I’m so proud of you” or something like “I noticed how you asked your sister about playing with her doll, it was very polite of you.”

2. Be Specific with Your Praises

Be very specific while praising the good behavior of your child. Acknowledge him about the exact words, actions, behaviors you liked, such as “I’m so proud of the way you rode your bicycle in the race.” or “I liked how you shared your toys with other kids.”

3. Hold on Your Negative Judgment

When you find your child doing things you dislike, don’t say something negative yet to terminate the behavior immediately. Yes, at times it’s what we all need to do, but sometimes you have to just wait and look for things he’s doing right, and then discuss it with him. Like if your child makes faces and nags while waiting at a dentist’s clinic, ignore it until he indulges himself in some magazines and then tell him how happy you are to see him waiting patiently and acting like a grown-up.

4. Focus More on the Right Things

Children may do both right and wrong things together, but you must heed on the things he did right. Like if you ask him to pick the books from the floor, he may pick them upbut instead of shelving them, he places them on the bed. Be focused on what he did right and appreciate him for it.

5. Make Your Child Know He’s Getting Better

While praising, remember to compare the past and present behavior of your child. Avoid comparison between children and don’t look out for perfection. Focus on the improvements in your child.

6. Set Further Goals to Keep Them Improving

Set goals to your kids for future to keep the improvement in progress. Like when combing your kid’s hair you may add “I can be surprised if I find you combing your hair on your own. In fact, I’d feel great about it.”

Positive reinforcement is required by everyone. Watch the video below and learn more tips to praise your children: