Positive Reinforcement - What Is It?

At Lil’ Eggheads, it’s our mission to nurture curiosity, confidence, and creativity. One of the tools we use is positive reinforcement. 

Positive reinforcement is a behavioral training method that is used to increase a behavior. Meaning, it’s a way to have someone repeat doing an action that was good. 

Positive reinforcement is used everywhere, especially in the classroom! 

The child who was the most well-behaved earns a special privilege such as being the line leader. The child who sits quietly with their hand raised gets called on instead of the child who is leaping out of their seat. A child is praised for taking their time to write out their letters neatly.

To put it simply, positive reinforcement rewards good behaviors in order to promote them to happen again.

There are four types of reinforcers:

  • Social: praising a child for working hard and doing well on a task, or for a good behavior

  • Natural: the child who practices math does well on a math quiz

  • Token: as part of a reward system, a child earns tokens (ex: stars on a star chart) that add up towards receiving something that the child wants

  • Physical: a child receives candy or a toy for a behavior

The best reinforcers are the first three: social, natural, and token. Physical rewards work effectively, but should be used with caution, as they add up quickly!

Whichever reinforcers you choose, they need to be implemented immediately and consistently. For example, when your child puts their dishes in the sink, praise them immediately and each time they do this.

A wonderful aspect of positive reinforcement is how it affects a child's confidence as well as their behavior and academic performance. By using positive reinforcers, a child receives praise, recognition, and sometimes even treats for their actions. All of this helps to boost their self-esteem, confidence, and motivation!

If you have any more questions about these methods or want guidance about how to use them in your home, contact us at info@lileggheads.com! We'd be happy to talk to you more about positive reinforcement and we're even available for coaching sessions!