This is our last week at home together before preschool starts next week, and although my 3 year old and I are both ready, I am a little sad that she is going to be a 3-day-a-week student vs. twice a week like last year :( So with that being said, we have been spending some quality time together and it's given me the time to use the Positive Reinforcement techniques from my favorite parenting book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen. If you haven't been reading my blog, then you probably have no idea how obsessed I am with this book. (Hmm, parenting books review post in the near future maybe?)
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (12$ Amazon)
Anyway, so this book basically says that if you give your child positive
Here's a refresher on how it works:
Catch them being good: When you see something they are doing that is desired (saying "thank you", excusing themselves from the table, etc.) give them verbal praise and encouragement and use a loud voice, sound super happy and give them lots of attention. As compared to the negative reinforcement, where you catch them being 'bad' and raise your voice, give them lots of attention for it and then, alas, they do it over and over again to annoy you because, 'mommy sure got super excited and stopped what she was doing to pay attention to me.'
Here's how it went down in my house this week:
Scenario #1 Child: Climbs up into her chair to eat lunch by herself without me having to ask her.
Me: "OH MY GOODNESS, DID YOU JUST CLIMB INTO YOUR SEAT ALL BY YOURSELF? AND YOU GOT RIGHT IN IT WHEN I TOLD YOU IT WAS TIME FOR LUNCH! YOU ARE SO AMAZING THAT YOU DID THAT, WOW I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!" (caps=super excited voice)
Child: Smiling ear to ear, continues to do this on her own the rest of the week
Scenario #2 Child: Shares a toy with younger sibling
Me: "YOU JUST GAVE A TOY TO BABY BELLE, AND SHARED WITH HER, WOW!! YOU DID SUCH A GREAT JOB AT SHARING!!"
Me: More verbal encouragement "You are so proud of yourself" and she continued to share with her, no joke!
I also try super hard to notice the smallest little things to give encouragement, things we take for granted at times, will reinforce more and more of good behaviors. For example:
Scenario #3: Me: Hands her a cup of milk to drink
Child: "Thanks momma"
Me: "OH WOW, YOU SAID THANK YOU! THAT IS SO NICE OF YOU TO SAY THAT WHEN I HAND YOU SOMETHING!" "YOU ARE SO GOOD AT SAYING PLEASE, AND THANK YOU'S"
Scenario #4 : Child puts toy back where she found it
Me: "DID YOU JUST PUT THAT TOY BACK BY YOURSELF? YOU CLEANED UP YOUR TOYS WITHOUT ME ASKING YOU TO? YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD HELPER!"
Get the idea? As they get older, it will be even more making a big deal out of small things, like a 10 year old taking their plate to the sink, or they take their shoes to their room on their own. The more you give positive attention to little things, the more they will do it.
What do you do when they do something negative? Hard to do, but just notice it and mention it without too much attention, use a low voice, and move on :)
It's been fun testing this out this week, and have seen great results! Minus a few normal temper tantrums here and there. Hey, did I mention she was 3 years old?