An important aspect in early childhood education is to instill good habits in children from an early age. However, it is not an easy task, sometimes it is necessary to arm yourself with a lot of patience to be able to deal with the rebellious behaviors and negative attitudes of children, especially when they are very young.
Punishments and scoldings usually work temporarily but sometimes they only serve to aggravate the negative behavior that we want to eliminate. In fact, sometimes punishment acts as a reinforcer for negative behavior, although many parents do not know this and insist on scolding their children when they do something wrong. Instead, there is a much more useful and constructive strategy: positive reinforcement.
The role of positive reinforcement in childhood
Basically, the positive reinforcement theory consists of ignoring children’s bad behaviors, focusing on their good behaviors to reward their efforts and achievements. It is about encouraging them to repeat the positive behavior that we want to obtain. Positive reinforcement is based on behavioral theory and is very useful, above all, to establish adequate and healthy habits.
Another of its greatest advantages is that it can be applied at any age, although it is usually more effective after 2 years of age, an ideal stage to establish positive habits since self-awareness is being developed and personality is being structured.
However, it is important to keep in mind that rewards and prizes must be modified throughout growth since the interests and motivations of the little ones change as they get older, so that while a treat or a walk to the park can be very motivating for the little ones, they do not have the same effect on the older ones, who are beginning to be attracted by other types of rewards, although it is always important to make sure that the prizes are not only material.
There are different ways to use positive reinforcement in early childhood education, one of the simplest and easiest strategies is the reward table. It is a very practical method that will make it easier for parents to reinforce good behavior in their children, while allowing the little ones to get involved in their learning process.
Reward chart to instill good habits in children
The reward chart, also known as the incentive chart, is a very useful technique for instilling healthy habits in children through positive reinforcement. Basically, it is a very simple table that consists of different columns and rows, on the one hand the goals that the child must achieve throughout the week or month are included, and on the other, in the corresponding cells, the making the marks, either with a star, a cross or a sticker, which indicate that the child has achieved his goal.
The table should be placed in a visible place that the child can easily access to review the completion of their tasks and even make the marks each time they achieve their goals. In this way, when the little one has reached a certain number of marks, which must be negotiated beforehand, he will receive a prize as a reward for his effort. That reward will keep you motivated and encourage you to work toward your next goal.
You can design a personalized table at home, using your children’s favorite cartoons or writing motivational phrases if they already know how to read, although if you don’t want to complicate yourself so much you can also download a reward table and print it. Next, we propose a table of rewards that can be very useful to you.