Reinforcing Positive Behaviors Will Change the Way You Parent
Let’s face it: When you have three kids to corral (or even one), behavior can sometimes get in the way of fun. It’s not always as negative as it sounds. In some instances, behavior could be hitting, fighting or just not listening. Sometimes reinforcing behaviors just helps nudge stubbornness or helps your child get their school work done in a timely manner or even just to clean their room but there’s a big different between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. While negative reinfocement can sometimes be usefull in stopping certain behaviors, positive reinforcement rewards and encourages great behavior while simultaniously lifting the child up and building their confidence.
How does reinforcing positive behavior help?
Whichever your reason, positive reinforcement can help in many situations. It also sets a precedent for future learning and responsibility in a better light. If you are looking for a new strategy to change your game at home, then these parenting tips may work for you.
This fall our family tried a new strategy. We created a ticket reinforcement system where our kids can earn tickets for helping out around the house, getting homework done, playing nicely, getting a good report from school, sharing and so on. They collect tickets throughout the week and then at the end of the week they can earn a big reward. There is also a smaller ticket prize in their pouch they can earn sooner to keep them motivated. Each week we change out the prizes so they don’t get bored. Nothing that we do costs much. For example, the small prize is currently a sticker sheet with their favorite characters on it. The big prize can sometimes be a surprise, a trip out for ice cream or a fun family activity on Sundays.
What’s the objective?
They key objective of this plan is reinforcing your child’s behavior immediately for what you want them to do. The more immediate the reward then the bigger impact it will have on your child. When my 9 year old comes home and does his homework without piddling around, he earns a ticket for getting things done timely.
My 6 year old can earn a ticket for sharing nicely with her little sister and my youngest can earn a ticket by taking her nap without a fight. If they do something positive on the fly then then earn a bonus ticket. I give them a ticket for doing something helpful without being asked to do it first or for using their manners without being reminded to do so. This strategy also works if you want to target one specific behavior at a time. We choose many things because it helps them feel accomplished.
On the flip side, they can also earn a natural consequence. A natural consequence, rather than negative reinforcement, is where they receive a consequence for their actions that doesn’t require us to do anything extra. For example, if the kids are all earning tickets to receive ice cream on Sunday, but one of the kids doesn’t earn their tickets that week…then the natural consequence is that they get to go with us to our destination but they don’t get any ice cream on that outing. Sometimes natural consequences are the best reinforcement because generally kids don’t like to be left out of things.
What You’ll Need:
coins, tickets, tokens, etc.
a jar, baggies, paper pocket, etc.
White board, dry erase marker (paper and pen works too)
Small: stickers, quarter machine toy, candy..etc
Big: Family outing, Ice cream, extra tv..etc.
And a kid or two or three, of course.
The best part of this is that you can tweak it to meet your family needs or in a way that best captures the interest of your child.
From iFamily to Yours,