When dealing with children the act of giving a little praise for a positive action can significantly help increase a child’s interest in an activity or action. Positive reinforcement can be a great way to steer a child in the right direction however it needs to be applied the right way. Problems may occur if parents over do the praise which makes the child feel that the recognition and praise is meaningless. On the other hand if the positive reinforcement is inconsistent then it is difficult for the child to understand and learn from this parenting solution. When using positive reinforcement it is important to consider the following which can help parents to use this parenting solution effectively.
It is important to choose your reinforcements and ensure that they match the type of activity that the child has performed. The rewards should also match a child’s age, their interests and also the effort that they needed to earn them. Some examples can include things such as stickers for young children or an increase in pocket money or allowances for older children and teenagers.
This parenting solution needs to have clear guidelines so that parents and children are clear on what are good and bad actions. This is important especially if you are trying to foster good behaviour with younger children. Try to avoid using vague warnings for behaviour as the child needs to know the difference between good and bad behaviour.
Another aspect of positive reinforcement is timing and consistency. This makes it much easy for the children to learn and understand the rules and what is expected from them. Having a short space between positive action and reward strengthens the positive behaviour and the child is more likely to form an association between the action and the reward.
It is also important for the rewards or reinforcements to be changed regularly so that the child doesn’t get bored with the same reward all the time. If the child is bored with the rewards then this will be less effective when trying to encourage positive behaviour. It is also good to introduce non material items as rewards such as extra time watching television or allowed to stay up a little bit later at night.
Positive reinforcement which fosters well behaved children is a great parenting solution for any family and can be used for children of all ages.