Using positive reinforcement with children is imperative when teaching them correct behavior. Children seek out the approval of adults, parents, or the guardians in their life. Part of being a good parent is knowing when to show disapproval of bad behavior, but more importantly how to show approval and reward good behavior. Remember that positive reinforcement acknowledges the good behavior in a child without focusing on their not so great performance. The two types of reinforcements that are used with children are verbal and physical.
Words are used in verbal reinforcement to express your feelings to the child. It is important to give them praises on their behavior. Use words such as good job, proud of you, way to go, and great job. Using the right words will help build the child’s self-esteem and confidence when interacting with others.
Children love to be hugged, cuddled, and kissed. When you are physically interacting with the child in these ways, you are showing them that you are proud of them and their actions. When implementing this daily your child will feel validation and approval from you.
- Recognize Great Behavior. When the opportunity allows, praise the child for their wonderful behavior. Acknowledge behavior that you normally would not give praises for them for doing. Give hugs and kisses every time good behavior presents itself.
- Concentrate on all the great things the child is doing. Even if the child does not do the activity quite right, but makes an attempt at it, give praises. The next time they just might get it right. A child should feel that it is alright to make mistakes. However, they just have to keep trying until the day they get it right.
- Talk to the Toddler. Believe it or not! Toddlers are little people, and very smart. Sit down with them and carry on a conversation. Discuss all the wonderful things that they have done during the day, and how you are very proud of them. End the conversation by giving them a big hug, and encouraging them to continue to do well.
- Correct behavior along with praises. Although, you have to correct the child’s behavior from time to time, give them compliments while doing so. Find other things that they have been doing well and offer praises for those actions. You do not want to tear down their confidence. It is important for them to continue to believe in their capabilities.
No one will ever have the best interest of your child at heart quite like you. It is important to build their confidence and self-esteem at an early age. When the child is older they will be better equipped to handle themselves in less positive environments.