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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Baby Reading Tips

 

Reading personalized baby books

Reading personalized baby books from as soon as they are born has shown to have a tremendous impact on a child’s developing brain, especially their language skills and vocabulary. When it comes to reading to babies, it helps to know where and how to start, so here are a few helpful tips:

Birth to 6 months: Since the vision of an infant is still developing during these early months, it helps to choose books with little or no text and big, high-contrast pictures. Books that have interactive elements like textures, fabrics, mirrors, peepholes, popups and other inserts can also help babies learn as well as stimulate their still-developing brains. For parents, even choosing to read a brightly printed magazine on glossy paper can make for good baby-reading time – since the words are not yet important at this stage, kids can still learn by looking and they can still benefit from simply spending time with you and hearing the tone of your voice.

7 to 12 months: Before they are a full year old, children begin to grasp language and may already have a very basic vocabulary. Even if they aren’t speaking yet, they likely have an understanding of some basic words. In this vein, picking books that are about just one object or person per age are best; hearing you name something your baby recognizes reinforces their vocabulary and helps them realize that the words are linked to the illustrations, so make sure to point to the right pictures at the right times!

Acting out what you read with your face, hands, and voice can help, too. Let your baby babble back to you in response. Doctors suggest that this “conversation” can help them learn to take turns and teaches them about focusing on the same thing as someone else while also boosting communication skills.

Reading Personalized baby Books

For both ages under the one-year mark, you may want to stick to baby baby board books or fabric books, something that can withstand your child playing with them – and this sort of behavior should be encouraged at this stage. Kids learn by feeling, and sometimes tasting, so when they are very young they will explore new objects by physically touching them or even trying to gnaw on them to get an idea for what they are and how they feel.

13 to 18 months: As kids get older, you can begin introducing books with more than one sentence per page. Also, acting out the story and really getting into the dialogue can be extra effective around this age. When reading animal noises, be sure to imitate their sounds. When your child begins to mimic you, they will also be learning. After a while, ask them what sounds the animals make and so on. Ask them where the animals/subjects are in the illustrations.

15 to 18 months: Your baby may be able to answer questions with a word, so give them the opportunity to identify images they know by asking, “What’s that?” If they respond, you can try adding adjectives, sounds, colors, or other things you can use to describe the image and further boost their vocabulary.

19 to 24 months: At this age, many toddlers find the familiar routine of reading as reassuring and calming, and they may find a similar comfort when it comes to the same familiar books as well. Around 18 months, children may begin to ask for the same book over and over and over. This can help kids develop a love of reading, but as they become more and more familiar with the same book it also allows them to learn new words on top of the ones they have already memorized.

How to Identify Reading Difficulties

Identifying Reading Difficulties

There is a lot of emphasis on reading in early academia. In many instances, how well a child learns to read and continues to grow as a reader has a huge impact on their academic future as well as their future as readers. For kids who do not read well or have a hard time learning to read, their academic futures can be cloudy. According to many studies (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996; Torgesen & Burgess, 1998), many children who have difficulties reading early on and get off to a bad start rarely ever end up catching up. While part of the problem can be related to access to resources like books or guidance, many kids suffer from learning disabilities and reading problems that go undiagnosed.

Waiting too long to diagnose a reading disability can make it incredibly difficult to treat and it can make catching up even more of a challenge as well. This is why it is so important that parents are aware of the early signs so they can get their child the help they need from the beginning.

Here are some universal signs of reading difficulties that parents should be able to identify:

Slow-Going

If you notice that your child continually has trouble reading books pitched to their age and reading level, this could be one of the first signs. Listen to your child read aloud. Does it sound like they are improving? Do they struggle with the same words over and over? This can be difficult for children, especially since it is also often discouraging and they may not want to continue reading at all.

Frequent Errors

Mispronouncing a new word or sounding out a long word is one thing, but when kids frequently add words, delete words, or change words when reading, then there may be another issue at hand. Some things you may notice include the following:

  • Adds words – The tall lamp à then the tall and lamp
  • Replaces words – He rubbed his eyes à he rumbled his eyes
  • Deletes words – It’s just a possum à It’s a possum

Staying on Task

If you notice your child frequently losing their place, losing sight of the word or sentence they are reading, skipping lines or jumbling sentences, then you should pay attention and take note. This can not only hinder their ability to comprehend the content of the story they are reading, but it may also have implications regarding the way they process information as well.

No Retention

After reading, kids should be able to summarize what happened in even the most concise terms, but if your child is not retaining any information from the book or even the passage they just read, then they may be expending most of their energy on the act of reading the words and letters without being able to retain what those words mean and the sentences they make up.

Avoidance

Another big indicator of reading problems is avoiding reading all together. Kids may not want to read or show an interest in reading if it is too much of a challenge for them. It may not only be difficult but embarrassing, too.

If you ever have any concerns about your child’s reading and their ability to read and retain information, look into meeting with an educational professional or a speech pathologist to get to the bottom of the issue and get your child the care they need early on.