Chattanooga pediatrician shares tips to encourage and reward good behavior in children

Q: Can rewarding my child for good behavior be helpful, and how can I implement rewards effectively?

A: Absolutely, incorporating rewards into your parenting strategy can be a valuable tool, especially when combined with recognition and praise. Here are some tips to help you reinforce positive behavior goals in your child:

Behavior chart creation: Start by making a chart that clearly outlines the specific positive behavior goals you expect from your child. Include the time of day for each expected behavior. The chart should cover a week or a longer period, depending on the behavior. Consider using tokens like paper stars or a point system for older children.

Point system: Decide how many points your child will earn each time they exhibit the positive behavior. Create a summary column to total up the points regularly. Tokens work well for younger children, while a point system or contract might be more suitable for older ones.

Reward system: Establish a list of rewards corresponding to specific point thresholds. Involve your child in selecting those rewards to ensure they are meaningful and motivating. Clearly define how many points or days of positive behavior are required to earn a particular reward.

Visible placement: Keep the behavior chart in a prominent spot where your child can easily see it. That serves as a source of pride and positive reinforcement. Daily visibility can help maintain enthusiasm and motivation.

Progress tracking: Monitor your child's progress closely. Frequent reinforcement of positive behavior is essential to keep enthusiasm high. Celebrate small victories and encourage continuous improvement.

Phase-out strategy: Use the behavior chart as a measure of success. Avoid implementing penalties or demerits, as those can be discouraging. Instead, consider mild consequences like time-outs if necessary. Gradually phase out the program as your child internalizes the desired behavior. You'll notice that when they begin to lose interest or forget to ask for their points.

Remember, every child is unique, so adapt the strategies to suit your child's age and personality. If you have specific concerns about your child's behavior, it's always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician or child psychologist for personalized guidance.

Dr. Aileen Litwin is a board-certified pediatrician with Happy Heathy Pediatrics and a member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society.

  photo  Dr. Aileen Litwin
 
 

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