Positive reinforcement is a parenting technique that involves rewarding and acknowledging a child’s desired behavior to encourage its repetition. It focuses on providing praise, encouragement, or tangible rewards like stickers or treats when the child exhibits positive actions or attitudes. By consistently using positive reinforcement, parents can help in shaping their child’s behavior and developing strong, healthy habits.

Key Takeaways

  1. Positive Reinforcement is a technique used in parenting where the child receives praise, rewards, or encouragement for displaying desired behavior, which increases the likelihood of that behavior being repeated in the future.
  2. It helps to develop a strong bond between the parent and the child by promoting a positive atmosphere at home and enhancing the child’s self-esteem, motivation, and overall mental well-being.
  3. Examples of positive reinforcement include praising your child when they complete their homework, providing stickers or small rewards for chores, and offering positive attention when they demonstrate kindness towards others.


Positive Reinforcement is a crucial parenting term because it emphasizes encouraging and supporting a child’s desired behavior by valuing and acknowledging their efforts and achievements.

By utilizing positive reinforcement, parents foster a supportive environment where children feel motivated to continue demonstrating positive actions, leading to the development of healthy self-esteem, self-confidence, and emotional well-being.

This approach enables parents to create a strong, nurturing bond with their children, allowing them to better understand their feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

Ultimately, positive reinforcement contributes significantly to creating emotionally resilient individuals who are capable of facing various life challenges head-on, with a strong sense of self-worth and positive life outlook.


Positive reinforcement is a cornerstone of effective parenting and plays a vital role in encouraging desired behaviors, promoting self-esteem, and fostering a healthy parent-child relationship. The purpose of positive reinforcement is to acknowledge and reward behaviors that parents want to see more of in their children, thereby increasing the likelihood of such behaviors reoccurring in the future.

By consciously recognizing and reinforcing positive actions and decisions, parents can nurture and guide their child’s emotional and social development, creating an environment that empowers their child to grow into a secure, confident, and responsible individual. In practice, positive reinforcement can take various forms depending on the circumstance, the child’s personality, and the specific behavior being reinforced.

For example, verbal praise, tangible rewards, or increased privileges can act as powerful motivators to inspire children to continue exhibiting positive actions. By supporting self-worth, self-discipline, and intrinsic motivation, positive reinforcement also equips children with the skills and mental fortitude to navigate various challenging situations in life.

Furthermore, it encourages open communication and cultivates trust between the parent and child, leading to stronger emotional bonds and a more harmonious family dynamic.

Examples of Positive Reinforcement

Praise for Good Behavior: A parent notices their child sharing a toy with their sibling and acknowledges the positive behavior by praising the child, saying “Great job sharing with your sister! You are being very kind and caring.” This positive reinforcement helps the child associate sharing with positive feelings, encouraging them to repeat the behavior in the future.

Reward Jar for Completed Chores: A parent creates a reward jar system where the child can pick a reward from the jar after successfully completing a set number of chores or tasks. This creates a positive association with accomplishing tasks and helps encourage them to continue contributing to household responsibilities.

Earning Screen Time: A parent sets a rule that in order for their child to have screen time, they must first complete homework and spend some time engaging in physical or creative activities. Once these tasks are completed, the child is rewarded with the allotted screen time. This positive reinforcement system teaches the child that they can earn privileges through good behavior and responsible decision-making.

Positive Reinforcement FAQ

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a technique used in parenting and teaching, which involves rewarding a desirable behavior to encourage its recurrence. It helps build healthy habits, boost self-esteem, and foster a positive relationship between the parent and the child.

How does Positive Reinforcement work?

Positive reinforcement works by immediately acknowledging and rewarding a desired behavior, making it more likely to happen again in the future. By associating the behavior with a positive outcome, the child becomes motivated to repeat it for continued rewards.

What are some examples of Positive Reinforcement?

Examples of positive reinforcement can include verbal praise, a high-five, extra playtime, or a small treat. The key is to select a reward that is meaningful and motivating to the child and is appropriate for the desired behavior.

When should I use Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement can be used in various situations, such as when your child helps with chores, shares toys, exhibits good manners, or completes homework. However, it’s essential to be consistent and provide reinforcement immediately after the desired behavior to maximize its effectiveness.

What are some potential downsides to Positive Reinforcement?

When used excessively or inappropriately, positive reinforcement can create a sense of entitlement or lead to children only engaging in activities when they expect a reward. To avoid these issues, parents should combine positive reinforcement with other parenting techniques, such as setting clear expectations, offering guidance, and providing constructive feedback.

Related Parenting Terms

  • Behavior Praise
  • Tangible Rewards
  • Encouragement
  • Token Systems
  • Acknowledgment and Appreciation

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