As I’ve said before– positive reinforcement is a specific strategy- not just randomly giving out ‘rewards’.

By definition, positive reinforcement occurs when something is presented immediately following a behavior and as a result, that behavior occurs more often in the future.

Behavior–>Something is added–>behavior occurs more often in the future


There are two key points here:

  1. Immediately following the desired behavior
  2. An increase in the desired behavior

Read all about the specifics of positive reinforcement here.

Lately, we’ve been using positive reinforcers to get through dinner time. For some reason our toddler doesn’t love to try new foods. Crazy, right? Toddlers typically eat vegetables so peacefully, right?

Here are some reinforcers we’ve used to survive dinner time lately. Seriously. We’ve used these and they’ve been effective.

  • Going outside to look for the moon
  • Singing a song about the moon (Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon…)
  • Mickey stickers
  • Singing the Mickey song about hot diggity dog
  • Giving high 5’s
  • Giving high 4’s. She oh so calmly and politely demanded, I mean requested, 4 instead of 5.
  • Clapping and cheering.
  • Playing with a toy turtle after dinner
  • Cheers-ing her sippy cup with our drink glasses

What crazy, I mean practical, reinforcers have you found to be effective lately?

Are you a pro at using positive reinforcement effectively? High 4 for you!

Need more ideas for using behavior analysis in your mommy role? Check out my book.Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom’s Sanity.