Behaviors to Reinforce
It is important to notice good behaviors that can help prevent negative behaviors before they happen.
Some of the behaviors we want to notice with positive recognition can be simple positive acts.
- Playing nicely with siblings.
- Completing a challenging chore.
- Being respectful when needing to wait patiently.
- Complying with requests in a timely manner.
The major goal for all of the work your child accomplishes is intrinsic satisfaction, but some basic recognition can incentivize your child. This can happen with some simple acts:
- Verbal praise such as, “I noticed that…”
- High five or pat on the back
- Verbal recognition that you mention to another person while your child is present
Special Activities as Earned Rewards
If your child completes an important task like cleaning their room without being asked, you can suggest an extra fun activity together like taking time to play their favorite game with them.
For example, “Mikey, I noticed you cleaned your room this morning. That gives us some extra time this afternoon. Would you like to do a Lego activity together this afternoon?”
Extinguishing a Negative Behavior
When you find that your child is struggling with some directives you give, check yourself to make sure that you are clear and consistent with your instruction. It is imperative that you maintain a calm voice and demeanor and that you limit your directives.
When you find that a negative behavior is persisting, you can focus on steps to change that behavior.
First, identify the behavior you want to change. Be aware of when the negative behavior generally occurs. As soon as you see the negative attitude surface, do not give attention to the behavior. Turn your attention away from your child to a project you are working on or give your attention to another sibling. As soon as your child stops the behavior, give your child positive attention.
Note that this method of working to extinguish a negative behavior will take some time. Your child will often escalate the negative behavior for a period of time. If you remain consistent with your plan and maintain composure through the process, your child will likely stop the negative behavior.
The ultimate goal for all of these ideas is to help children feel the intrinsic satisfaction of accomplishment. With time and consistency children can learn how to move forward in doing some challenging things without extrinsic rewards.