Clever Ways to Positively Reinforce Your Child without Discipline
- 5) PICK THE MENU FOR THE NIGHT:Children who meet their goals are given the opportunity to select the menu for the night. This gets children involved in the planning and execution of the meal, while also giving them a chance to pay attention to the meal preferences of other family members.
- 6) BOX OF TREASURES: The parents fill a box with colorful pencils, erasers, and markers that the children can pick from once a week to reinforce the behaviors and tasks accomplished. Parents can make this a fun time for the children as they collect their "prize."
- 7) MOMENT OF SILENCE: Instead of punishing children for their negative behavior, the parent can use these opportunities to encourage quiet in their child's life. For example, if a child is rude or hitting someone, the parent can gently take the child aside and lead them into a moment of silence. Let them know that it's time to take a breather and enter stillness. The parent then sits with them to show them how it's done. After a minute of two, the child can be redirected into a conversation about the misbehavior, as well as praised and hugged for entering silence during a difficult emotion.
- 8) ALARM CLOCK FUN: Instead of playing police with your child, introduce the power of alarm clocks. Buy your child a few fun and easy-to-use alarm clocks and preset the alarms for activities of the day: homework, bath time, reading time, sleep time. When the child finishes all the tasks at the right time, they can check off the day on a chart. At the end of the week they get a treat from the treasure box or jar of fun, depending on how many checks they collected.
- 9) VIDEO YOUR CHILD: This can be a tricky reinforcer and needs to be used with your child's consent. When your child is engaging in a positive behavior, you can video it. At the end of the week, create a collage of these movies to show the family. When a child sees themselves "on screen" engaging in positive behavior, it's more likely to motivate them to continue their behavior. It also allows the family to be involved in praising and motivating a child.
- 10) LET THE CHILD BE THE TEACHER: The best way to get children to learn a behavior is have them teach the behavior to someone else. Have your child be the teacher and let them instruct one of the parents in the behavior. Not only will this raise their self-esteem; it will also help embed the behavior with greater effectiveness than simply telling them what to do. Good examples of this are allowing the child to pick the activity for the evening and prepare for it in advance, with the whole family participating.
- 11) THE MANNERS PARTY: If your child is having a problem with manners, have a manners party. Pick out a few movies in which the people have impeccable manners and watch the snippets. Then practice for yourselves, and have a party while doing so. Get teacups, have tea and cookies, and pretend to have the best manners in the party.