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Positive Vibes Only: A Parent’s Cheat Sheet to Boosting Good Behavior

Written By: April Preston, Director of Behavior Services

Let’s be real, parenting is like being on a rollercoaster where the highs are super high and the lows…well, they’re there too. What if we told you there’s a secret ingredient to keep the ride more on the high? Enter positive reinforcement! Think of it as the high-five for the good stuff your kids do. It’s about spotting those moments when they’re being awesome and giving them a “shout-out” for it. This isn’t about bribing them with treats or toys when they tie their shoes; it is about noticing and praising the effort, the kindness, and the teamwork.

So, how do you start sprinkling this magic dust at home? Great question, I would love to tell you. Lay down the ground rules of what you expect -nothing fancy, just the basics like using kind words, sharing with siblings, or picking up after playing. Then when they hit the mark, make a big deal out of it. “I love the way you shared your toy with your brother!”. It shows them exactly what they did right and makes them want to do it again. You can add rewards to your praise, such as picking a family night movie, or an extra reading of a favorite book before bed. But the goal is to make sure the praise and/or reward makes them feel special.

One way to make positive reinforcement at home easy is to make it a game. Get everyone in the family involved catching each other being great and shouting it out. It’s like building a little cheer squad in your own home, where everyone feels seen and valued for the good they do. Create a home vibe where everyone feels supported and appreciated. Positive reinforcement isn’t just a parenting strategy; it’s a way to build a family culture where love and recognition are part of the daily routine.

Now get out there and start your cheer squad!



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