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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Positive Reinforcement For Young Kids

If you are looking for some creative ideas to encourage good behavior with your young kids here's some ideas worth looking at:

Simple Behavior Intervention 
To do this intervention, give your child a piece of cardstock paper in their favorite colour. Explain that when he/she listens the FIRST time you asked him/her to do something, they would get a star on their piece of paper. That's it. Simple and VERY effective.

 At first give stars very frequently, but don't give them every time he/she listened the first time because random reinforcement seems to work better than continuous and you don't want him/her to expect to get a star for listening.

Here are a few important points of this intervention:
-He/ she is not allowed to ask for a star.
-Do not ask him/her to do something by saying "If you do ..., you'll get a star." The stars are like a fun surprise after he/she listens the first time.
-Do not take away stars or mention them when he/she doesn't listen.
-He/ she doesn't earn anything once the sheet is filled up with stars other than the satisfaction of knowing that he/she did a great job and earned a sheet full of stars. 

"Warm Fuzzy Jar." 

Whenever your child does something nice of her own free will, give her/her a "warm fuzzy," which is just a colorful pom-pom. He/she then puts the warm fuzzy in a jar. When this jar is filled, he/she can redeem it for a prize that you can all do together. For example, a trip to the zoo, swimming or lunch at a restaurant.

The pom-pom is simply a tangible "thank you" to acknowledge a child's kindness. Warm fuzzies can not be received for doing something he/she has been asked to do and they cannot ask for one. Once a warm fuzzy is given it cannot be taken away. (Except after a full jar is redeemed for a prize. Then the jar is emptied back into the pom pom bag.)

If you have more then one child it is a good idea to let them share a jar. This way the warm fuzzies show them working together but they can also be rewarded individually for nice things they do.

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Don't you just love these ideas? They are simple, cheap and effective and perfect for kids as young as toddlers. I bet you could even use these as an incentive when toilet training!

I'd love to hear any ideas you've seen or tried that encourage good behavior through positive reinforcement. And please do share if you've tried these ones!



  1. We started a sticker chart. When the girls earn 10 stickers, they can pick a little surprise out of a treasure box. It is working well.

  2. I'm definitely going to have to try the stickers for getting my little one to do something the first time I ask her to. We've been having major problems with obedience lately. I"m going out to get stickers now!

  3. Great ideas! Thanks for the new ideas!


    I am a newbie follower!

  4. I've used a similar system in the past... called it "random acts of kindness". Thanks for sharing!


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