Positive Reinforcement With Young Children

Positive Reinforcement With Young Children

Parenting young children is challenging. But when children do not listen, this becomes a more tough task to handle. You can not be raising voice or punish the kid, which can make the situation worse. In contrast, one effective technique is positive reinforcement. With young children, you can make them disciplined and obey you. Ultimately, they can learn good habits, and you can enjoy your parenting journey.

Positive reinforcement simply means rewarding your young child for carefully considering their actions. Reward options include verbal praise, a loving touch, a treat, or anything based on the child’s age.

Today, let’s see how you can become successful with positive reinforcement in your everyday parenting challenges.

What Is Positive Reinforcement In Parenting?

Positive reinforcement with young children in parenting is when you reward your child’s behavior by encouraging them to do it again. It’s like complimenting your child for sharing their toys and hoping they will share more often.


This is a kind of strategy that parents use in their parenthood. This strategy focuses on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing the bad. By this, the chance becomes more likely that the good behavior will happen again.


But you need to know the difference between positive reinforcement and showering your little one with numerous praises and gifts mindlessly. Naturally, every parent loves their child, praises them, and buys their favorite toys. But this is different from positive reinforcement.


Only when you give your baby some incentive for their good behavior is this positive reinforcement.

Benefits Of Positive Reinforcement For Young Children

Positive reinforcement, with proper technique and limitations, can be really beneficial for parents in raising their children by teaching them good behavior. Even this broadly helps to control impulses among children. Here are some benefits you can expect if you apply positive reinforcement.


Enhances Self-Esteem: Children feel more valued and confident when parents recognize their positive behaviors and rewards.

Promotes Good Behavior: Increases the likelihood of good behavior being repeated in the future.

Strengthens Relationships: Builds stronger bonds between parents and children. Also, mutual respect and understanding.

Encourages Autonomy: Helps children become more responsible and make better choices independently.

Reduces Negative Behaviors: Kids start showing less negative behavior and negative energy.

Improves Learning: Children get more excited about learning new stuff.

Strategies For Implementing Positive Reinforcement

Strategies for postiive reinforcement infograph

Positive reinforcement means creating a supportive environment where your child knows their efforts are noticed and appreciated. You can set clear expectations and then use various reinforcement techniques. Also, you need to adapt your approaches as your child grows.


Here are some positive reinforcement strategies you can follow.

Loving Touch

Loving touch like a hug, a pat on the back, or a high five is an effective technique to show your child has done well. This physical affection combines with positive words. Children feel more pleasing and loving.

Verbal Praise

Verbal praise is an immediate and powerful way to reinforce good behavior. Simple words like “I am proud of you, Well done, princess” can inspire your kid to do better. But it has to be timely and sincere.

Time Spent Together

Your child loves playing or simply being with you. You can use this as a positive reinforcement technique. Tell them you will play with your kid if they finish eating or doing something. Create some fun ideas that your baby would love to do.

Small Rewards

Bedtime stories, a special sticker, or a small toy can be small rewards with a big impact on reinforcement. Not every time your rewards need to be big or expensive. They should be meaningful to your child.

Rewards Chart

Rewards charts can keep the child motivated and engaged in improving. In this system, you can give the kid stickers and tell them to earn a specific number of stickers. After that, they can get a reward, such as a movie night, extra screen time, a visit to the park, and so on.

This type of engagement can help grow their IQ with age and develop their problem-solving skill quickly.

Increased Responsibilities As Rewards

When your child grows, you can reward them with more responsibilities they love, like choosing a movie for movie night or taking care of your pet. This can help them become more responsible and mature.

Examples Of Positive Reinforcement By Age

Positive reinforcement techniques should be ideal for your young children. However, you need to be careful when choosing the rewards. An appreciation clap may work for your toddler, but this won’t be a good idea for school-age children.

Toddlers (1-3 years)

Cheer or clap for your toddler if he uses the potty correctly or puts away toys. You can paint a kid-friendly temporary tattoo on his hand. Give stickers for trying out new food or dressing themselves. Motivate your child to share toys with others to reinforce sharing behavior.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers are a bit more mature than toddlers, so you need to change your rewards based on their age. Try to add something creative, like rewards charts, extra playtime, or specific praise.


“Thanks for letting me know that you need a diaper change. I really love you drew a picture of the story that we read last night.” 


Or take them to a theme park. Buy them paints or interactive books according to their age.

School-Age Children (6-12 years)

Give responsibilities to your school-age children if they complete homework or do well in school. Tell them to dress up for school and organize their books and toys. In return, you can make your kid your baking or cooking partner. Take them to grocery shopping. Let them choose their favorite cartoon character on their clothes.

Long-Term Effects of Positive Reinforcement

The long-term effects of positive reinforcement can be incredibly beneficial and far-reaching. It is more effective when you start early in your child’s life. You have to be consistent about recognizing your little ones’ good behavior and rewarding them.


This way, young children can learn what behaviors are expected and value their parents. They can know what to do and what not to do. They also understand better bonding with others, as they have been learning from their childhood.


Also, by receiving appreciation, kids gain self-confidence and self-worth, which helps them later in life accomplish big things.


Moreover, children who grow up with positive reinforcement techniques have better problem-solving skills. They are more motivated to find solutions for specific problems.

Is There Any Danger With Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a common way to encourage good behavior by giving rewards. However, relying too much on these rewards can make your kid act well only when they expect something in return, which could be better.


Also, if rewards are given too often or aren’t used the right way, they might become more important than the behavior itself. It’s also important that rewards don’t seem like manipulation. This can cause people to resist and be trustless. The key is to use rewards in a balanced way that really helps to encourage good behavior without feeling forced.


In conclusion, positive reinforcement is a very effective way to guide young children’s behavior. It focuses on encouraging good behavior instead of punishing the bad. By regularly using rewards and praise, parents can create a positive environment where children want to behave well. 


This approach not only helps children feel good about themselves but also teaches them to make better choices. Overall, using positive reinforcement can make family life more peaceful. Also, helps children grow into confident and responsible individuals.

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Emily Pham

Infant Teacher

My name is Emily and I am an infant teacher. My aim with this position is to learn how children develop as unique individuals and learn how to support their holistic growth. I am currently a student at San Francisco
State University majoring in Child and Adolescent Development. With this experience, I am hoping to get a sense on whether I want to continue to work in the classroom or if I want to learn the administrative side of education. The experience of working directly with children is gratifying and I wish to create a safe space for children to explore with all of their senses as they develop their own personalities. I hope to be able to help build a strong foundation so that the children can have the confidence and ability to express themselves.