Today we will be reviewing my top 3 tips of positive reinforcement for children. This is a vitally important perspective to have in life as our future literally depends on today’s youth. Making sure that we raise our kids to have positive thinking for themselves is a huge benefit for us all.
A Little Background First
Before I get into the tips however, please allow me to give you a little bit of background on myself and my family. I was the last child of three and lagged behind by almost 10 years to my older siblings. I started my family at a young age with my first being born when I was 18. Eight years later we had a daughter and three years after that our last child was born.
While I can not lay any claims to being the parent of the year at all, I do have many years of experience along with solid perspectives on how to be a positive example for kids. I have a great memory of my childhood and how it felt to be a kid and being the parent of 3 kids with an age gap between the oldest and next two.
1. Be a Positive Example
Interestingly enough, this was a lesson I learned while I was climbing into retail management back in my days in the mobile phone industry. I had seen it as a sales rep and as an assistant manager, but the lesson really didn’t sink in for me until I was a retail store manager.
When I became a manager I thought I could just go and act just like the other managers that I had worked for and with. However, I quickly learned that my employees tended to do what I did and not what I said. So for instance when I didn’t worry about what time I arrived at the store, I very quickly had attendance issues with my employees.
This holds true for being a parent as well. You see our kids look up to us to learn just how they should be acting. If you tell you kids not to get angry and yell at video games and yet when you play you do so, guess how they are going to behave? They will follow your example much more than what you tell them to do.
I am sure that most of us can reflect back to a time when we were young and our parents were telling us one thing but acting that way themselves. How did that make you feel at the time? I can hear the claims of unfairness still echoing when I allow my mind to wonder back to those times.
2. Positive Discipline for Your Kids
There are many different forms of discipline that you can use on your kids, but keeping it positive can be a bit tricky. After watching Supernanny on TV, my wife and I quickly adopted using time outs for disciplining our kids and had a lot of success with it.
You see I had grown up and my mom believed it was best to “ground” me for long periods of time, which in the long run had a lot of negative effects on my life. These periods often started at a week or two and sometimes lasted even longer. They kept me from developing my social skills and caused a lot of resentment towards my mother during my youth.
Time outs bring a concise way of taking care of the problem at hand without any long term interruptions to you or your child’s life. The only trick with them is to stick with the program and I highly recommend checking out some of the Supernanny shows if you need to see it in action.
Another item to keep in mind here is to think about what you say to your kids before you do. What I mean by this is don’t threaten with a punishment unless you are willing to follow through with it. For example lets say you tell you kid that if they don’t stop they will be grounded for a week. If they don’t stop you need to back up what you said and ground them for a week.
3. Positive Feedback Examples
Providing feedback to children on the things that they are doing or working on is a lot more important than some would think. Remember as a parent, you are your child’s first hero and you need to play the role! So lets take a look at some ways of providing positive feedback.
Be Mindful of the Words You Use – I talked about this subject on a broader view before, but it is well worth repeating when it comes to helping our future generations get off to a better start. The basic concept though is to use words that reward the effort put into something rather than words that just praise the end result.
I myself learned about this concept while reading the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. In the example below you will see how I gave positive feedback showing emphasis on the effort that they put into the project. This teaches the child that it was the work they did to get the praise which in turn teaches them to work hard.
The Constructive Criticism Sandwich – First, this is a great technique that works well beyond than just with kids. The method relies on providing something positive first, followed by constructive criticism and ends with another positive. This helps ease the child into the conversation with the positive, gives them an opportunity to learn how to improve and sends them out on a good note. For example:
Your young child proudly comes up to you to show you the picture that they just finished coloring and asks you what you think. You look at the picture and see that they did an okay job, but had trouble staying in the lines and filling in some spaces.
I would start off with a positive such as, “Wow, I can see that you have been working hard on this.” Then I would go into some details about how they can stay in the lines better, typically even providing an example to show them how. Lastly I would close out the conversation with another positive such as, “I am very proud of your work and can’t wait to see how you continue to improve.”
Share Your Positive Reinforcement Tips
What tips do you have that you can share with us? I would love to hear how you have kept things positive for your children and don’t forget that it could be your example that is the aha moment for another reader here to understand the concept. By providing your perspective you could help make a little part of this world a lot more positive. Please share with us in the comment box below!
Lastly here are some related articles that we have shared in the past that you may enjoy as well as this one:
- How Can Simple Things You Say Affect Your Life
- Managing Emotions in the Decision Making Process
- Positive and Negative Thinking – How to Live a Better Life
- From Lets Grow a Child: Teaching Children Emotions; See an Exclusive Perspective
James W D