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5 Types of Positive Reinforcement

How can positive reinforcement help your child succeed?

This evidence-based method uses the presentation of motivating stimuli in response to your child demonstrating a specific behaviour (ie. completing 30 minutes of homework) to increase the likelihood of them repeating the target behaviour again.

A reinforcer is a kind of reward given to the child after they demonstrate the target behaviour. Even small gestures such as compliments, giving them stickers and hugs can be highly rewarding for children.

Consistent positive reinforcement of a specific target behaviour has been proven to be highly successful in helping children develop strong habits.

1) Direct or Natural Reinforcers

This type of positive reinforcement occurs organically as a result of the child’s behaviour.

For example, if your child treats other children with kindness and respect they, in turn, will would ask your child to play with them more often

2) Social Reinforcers

This type of reinforcer involves using social expressions such as approval or praise in response to your child completing a desired behaviour.

Some examples include compliments, written comments and expressions of approval (ie. Telling your child did a good job, nodding your head or smiling at them in response to a certain behaviour).

3) Activity Reinforcers

Activity reinforcers have been proven to be very effective with children. To implement this reinforcer, allow your child to participate in an activity they enjoy as a reward for a certain behaviour,

One example of an activity reinforcer would be allowing your child to play outside after completing 30 minutes of homework.

4) Tangible Reinforcers

This type of positive reinforcement uses tangible (material) rewards such as toys, balloons, small gifts and stickers in response to the target behaviour.

Certificates and trophies are also examples of tangible reinforcers that can be a great motivator.

5) Token Reinforcers

A token economy is a system for providing positive reinforcement to a child or children by giving them tokens for completing tasks or behaving in desired ways.

Some examples of token reinforcers include keeping a point system wherein your child can earn a point every time they complete a certain behaviour. For this to be effective it is important that these points can then be traded in for other rewards as they accumulate.

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