Positive Reinforcement: A Parenting Guide

  1. Parenting Techniques
  2. Discipline and Positive Reinforcement
  3. Positive Reinforcement

As parents, it's important to know the best ways to discipline and encourage positive behavior in our children. Positive reinforcement is a powerful and effective parenting technique that can help children learn and grow. By understanding the basics of positive reinforcement and how to use it, parents can help their children develop the confidence and skills they need to become successful adults. In this guide, we'll look at the basics of positive reinforcement, including what it is, how it works, and how to apply it in your parenting.

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a parenting tool that rewards desirable behavior to encourage a child to repeat it.

This type of reinforcement involves giving a child something they want or enjoy when they do something right. The reward could be verbal praise, such as “good job!” or “you did it!”, physical affection, like a hug or high five, or tangible rewards, such as a sticker or small prize.

How Does Positive Reinforcement Work?

Positive reinforcement is based on the notion that people are more likely to repeat behaviors if those behaviors are rewarded. By giving your child something they want when they do something right, you are teaching them that desired behaviors come with positive outcomes. Over time, this will encourage them to repeat those behaviors in the future.

Benefits of Positive Reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement has numerous benefits for both parents and children.

For parents, it can help make parenting easier by encouraging desirable behavior and eliminating the need for punishment or negative consequences. For children, positive reinforcement builds self-esteem and teaches them to take pride in their accomplishments. It also gives them an incentive to keep trying and practicing new skills.

Tips for Using Positive Reinforcement Effectively:

  • Be specific with your praise: Give specific praise when your child does something right. For example, instead of saying “good job,” say “you did a great job cleaning up your toys!”
  • Be consistent: Make sure you are consistent when rewarding desirable behaviors.

    If you only give rewards occasionally or inconsistently, your child may become confused or discouraged.

  • Use tangible rewards: Tangible rewards can be effective for some children. However, make sure the reward is appropriate for the situation and age-appropriate for your child.
  • Make it fun: Make sure the reward is something your child will enjoy and look forward to doing. For example, if your child likes playing games, you could offer to play a game with them after they complete a task.


Positive reinforcement is an effective parenting tool that can help encourage desirable behaviors in children. By using praise, physical affection, and tangible rewards, parents can help their children learn and grow in a positive way.

Positive reinforcement is a great way to show children that their actions are valued and appreciated, and it can also serve as a motivator for them to continue to work hard and do their best. With consistent use of positive reinforcement, parents can create a supportive home environment where children feel safe, respected, and free to express themselves. In conclusion, positive reinforcement is an invaluable tool for parents when it comes to teaching children desirable behaviors and encouraging them to continue performing those behaviors. When used consistently and effectively, it can also help build self-esteem and provide children with an incentive to keep trying and practicing new skills. Positive reinforcement has the potential to be a powerful parenting technique, and is well worth exploring for any parent looking to create a positive environment for their child.

Paul Delaney
Paul Delaney

"Paul Delaney is Director at Content Ranked, a London-based digital marketing agency. He has been working in Education since the 1990s and has more than 15 years digital marketing experience in the sector.As Director at contentranked.com he focuses on SEO strategy for educational organisations; and Paul's expert team support clients with on-page, off-page and technical SEO. He is also Marketing Director at Seed Educational Consulting Ltd, a study abroad agency that helps African students study at university abroad. He has also held significant positions at multinational education brands, including Business Development Director at TUI Travel PLC, Area Manager at Eurocentres Foundation, and Sales Office Manager at OISE.Paul holds a postgraduate diploma in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute, BA in Publishing from Edinburgh Napier University, and a RSA/Cambridge CELTA.Outside of Education Paul is experienced in event promotion, production, and performance in the music industry."