I love positive reinforcements! And I am jussssst now realizing I am able to start molding this concept on my little 13 month old daughter.
What exactly is positive reinforcement? Well, it's what I like to call, "Catch 'Em Being Good" and to encourage that behavior. So, for instance if you see your child sitting there patting the dog affectionately, instead of grabbing and hitting the poor thing, then give your little one kudos and acknowledge their behavior! Don't just think to yourself how nice they are behaving, actually say it out loud!
Giving positive reinforcements really helps foster better cooperation, compliance, less irritability, fewer temper tantrums and it also boosts a child's self esteem.
The concept is to give little attention to bad behaviors and big attention to good behaviors. For older toddlers, preschoolers, and school aged kids, the more attention they get for good behaviors, the more you will see them do it and acting out less!
On a side note here for non-verbal young ones, they are still learning danger vs non- danger, so I still sometimes have to give a firm 'No' when my child is about to hurt herself.
And when I want to encourage a good behavior, I use that 'good doggie' voice and raise it up a notch and get all excited happy when she does something well. That way it will encourage my child to do it again.
So here is what it looks like with preschoolers and school aged kids :
A child playing nicely with his brother: "Chase, you are playing together with your brother so well, you are sharing and I don't hear any arguing!!"
Dinner time: "Sara, you put your own plate in the sink, I am so proud of you!!"
Bedtime: "Wow, you did such a great job of brushing your teeth, and you didn't even need to be reminded!"
So basically, you acknowledge behaviors any time you see your child complying (catching them doing something good) such as, "You wiped your feet before you came inside, thank you so much for keeping your shoes and the house clean!"
See what I mean? Just the little tiny things that you would normally take for granted, notice them and comment on them.
So there you have it. I have let you in on one of the little secrets to success. Yep, this is the main thing we counselors teach parents when their child is having temper tampers, acting out at home, has symptoms of ADHD, or oppositional defiant disorders. But no reason to wait until it's too late and you are about to pull your hair out. Start early and you will be able to curb most bad behaviors before they even start. Oh and this works well with other people living in your home too like spouses, in-laws, etc. :) Catch 'em being good!