How to Use Positive Reinforcement for Kids

Positive Reinforcement with Kids

Positive Reinforcement for Kids

As kids get older, they become more independent and begin making their own choices. As parents and guardians, it is important to encourage kids to make good and healthy decisions in their everyday lives.

Promoting these behaviors will help them develop into well-adjusted adults. Reinforcing these positive behaviors can also help kids feel good about the choices they make. These choices will further motivate them to continue  being good, responsible people. Here are some ways parents can use positive reinforcement for kids every day.

Verbal Affirmation

This sort of simple encouragement can go a long way. For example, “your room looks great when its tidy” or “I like how you’ve organized your toys.” This type of praise can give kids the validation they need to continue doing these things, find joy in them, and continue to listen when you ask them to complete such tasks.

Self-Esteem

Encouraging your child to improve and keep up with good behavior can be a big confidence and self-esteem booster as well as a motivator. Especially if they are being kind or helping out.  This will help them find value in these things and they may start doing things on their own.

Positive Reinforcement for Kids

Character Development

Parents are their children’s first and most powerful moral teachers. Therefore, it’s important that you demonstrate morals you want your kids to pick up from you. Try to make your life a living example of good moral behavior for your child to see.

Reinforce good moral behavior as it happens and make sure to always prioritize moral habits daily. This can be done by getting kids involved in helping others and the world around them. Instilling good values can go a long way and stay with your child as they get older.

When Does It Work Best?

But with all of this in mind, how can you know when positive reinforcement is most effective?

Utah State University published a behavioral guidelines checklist outlining when positive reinforcement works the best. According to this study, body language and positive verbal affirmation are the most effective, following a behavior you want to encourage. Saying things like “I’m proud of you,” “great job,” or being specific like “that was very polite of you,” or “that was really nice of you to (do what you did),“ can be incredibly effective.

Not all encouragement has to be verbal, either. Smiling, nodding in approval, and even doling out high-fives and thumbs-up can go a long way.

Take Away:  Using simple but proven strategies can make real differences in your children’s lives. Especially when you choose ones that matter most in raising good kids then commit to making them become a habit in your daily parenting.

 

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Babies Can Learn To Read Too

Babies Can Read Too

It may seem pointless to read to a newborn – they can’t read yet, they don’t understand language, and processing images is still something they are getting used to. But these are actually great reasons that should inspire you to read to your newborn. There are some surprising benefits to breaking out the books early, and they can really go a long way.

Baby Bonding
Reading with your baby is a nice way to relax. Reading aloud can have a calming effect on newborns, especially since they can get used to your voice and find comfort in it. It’s never too early for bed time stories, especially when the sound of your voice in a calm, even cadence can get them to relax and get ready for bed.

Active Listening
Listening plays a huge part in learning language, so even if children cannot yet process or understand words, reading to them will play a huge role in their developing language skills. Plus, reading to kids can help boost their early vocabulary, too. You may feel tempted in every other hour of the day to babble on in baby-speak to your child but talking them in a normal voice with normal speech (though using simple words can be helpful) is actually more beneficial to children and their developing minds. Reading from a book to them on a regular basis can have the same effect.

Ready Readers
Making reading a common activity helps shape active readers, and kids who are read to are more likely to develop their own love for reading as they get older. Not only that, but listening can help kids become better readers, too. Once they do become familiar with language, they can learn to follow along as you read to them. Before you know it, they’ll be reading on their own! But it all starts early, so reading to children while they are still infants can make a difference.

Brain Boost
Studies have also shown that children who were read to as newborns not only have a larger vocabulary, but that they also exhibit more advanced mathematical skills than other kids their age as well. These same studies have also uncovered a direct correlation between how many words a baby hears each day and their overall language skills. One study even found that babies whose parents spoke to them a lot when they were younger scored higher on standard tests when they reached age 3 than children whose parents weren’t as verbal with them.

React and Response
Studies have also shown that babies whose parents read to them get used to the rhythmic pattern of their parents’ voices. This can be calming, but it can also help them better identify subtle clues in speech such as the mood of the speaker by their tone of voice.  Babies are exposed to feelings through the different sounds parents use when reading, whether it’s doing a voice for a character or describing what’s going on in the story.

How To Break Kids Bad Habits

How to break kids bad habits

How to Break Kids’ Bad Habits

Forming habits can occur naturally, though habits can be encouraged and adapted with the right mentality. Just as you can work to create a habit, like exercising regularly, you can do things to break habits if you want or need to. For parents, getting their children to break bad habits can be difficult, especially since many habits kids have are related to their age and getting older. Things like pacifier usage, nose picking, thumb sucking and more can be detrimental to kids’ development and may lead to problems that can actually pose health risks and other side effects. Here are some ways parents can deal with helping their kids break habits in a healthy way.

Ignoring

A simple way to help a child lose focus of a bad habit is ignoring it. This is often good as a first tactic, and other methods can be considered if this does not work. You don’t want to ignore something if it remains to be a problem. In some cases, bad habits draw attention and this attention drives kids to do the thing you’re asking them not to even more. In some cases, paying a lot of attention to a bad habit and punishing them for it can have a negative outcome. When considering whether your child should break a habit or is old enough to, especially when it comes to things like thumb sucking, try to avoid paying attention to the habit and let your kid outgrow the habit on their own with time. If they don’t, then you can consider other options.

Praise and Reward

Giving kids positive attention for behaviors you want to encourage can go a long way, and rewarding non-behaviors can work too. If you notice that your child has not given in to their habit in a while, try congratulating them and let them know that they are doing a good job. Even if it is something they have grown out of and may not have actively tried to stop doing, it can encourage them to further avoid that bad habit in the future.

Give an Explanation

Simply telling kids “No,” is not often helpful so explaining why a habit is bad for them can do some good. Explain how thumb or pacifier can lead to problems with their teeth and extra trips to the dentist, etc. In this technological world we live in if technology is what grabs their attention, then show them videos on what problems the habit may cause can also help reinforce what you are saying. For example, see our video below on thumb sucking that can be shared with your children.

Take it One at a Time

If your child has several bad habits, try to focus on tackling each one before moving onto another. Focusing on several issues at once can be confusing for a kid, as well as stressful, especially if habits like thumb sucking are involved since habits like these are performed because of their soothing or comforting nature. Taking a lot away at once can be challenging and only make matters worse, as well as more difficult down the road.

Social Interactions

Social interactions with other kids may also help children to break habits. If they are around other children who do not have the same habits kids will point it out and let each other know for example “Why are you doing that? Or you always do that!” This makes children more motivated to distract themselves or use an alternative.

Be Patient

Breaking habits takes time, just as it does to form habits. But while you’re being patient, remember to provide your child with love and support. Let them know that breaking these habits will be good for them in the long run. Habits are sometimes performed on an unconscious level, so being understanding is key to your peace of mind as well as your child’s.