Studies show that when children receive positive attention from adults, it can have a drastic impact on their behavior. Giving children positive attention sometimes requires that we as parents alter our perspective. When we give children positive attention, it means we focus more on the good, and try to ignore (at least at the moment) the bad. The idea is that for children, receiving attention from a parent can be very powerful. So essentially, rather than telling them what they are doing wrong, highlight what they are doing right. It’s not an easy shift, but like anything else, it will only take a matter of time until it becomes more natural.
In practice, positive attention can be exhibited in many forms. It can be shown with the use of “power words” and affirmative gestures. It’s important for children to feel like they are on the right track and that their efforts are appreciated. Positive attention, in a larger context, mostly depends on how to implement it in a healthy way. Studies have also shown that when we are clear and specific with our words when giving positive attention, children understand more clearly what kinds of behaviors are expected and appropriate.
On a smaller scale, positive attention really isn’t as complicated as it may sound. It’s simply breaking down one thing into smaller pieces, kind of like expounding and picking things apart, but in a healthy way. Some experts refer to this as “labeled praises”. This approach actually makes it clear to your child exactly what it is you like about what they are doing. This type of praise provides a very specific, effective positive response.Here are a few helpful tips and reminders as you practice giving your child positive attention:
Avoid negative attention
Children thrive from receiving attention from adults. It is part of their nature. If they can’t get your attention by behaving appropriately, they will most likely try to get it by misbehaving. Try to do away with unpleasant words,or words that are discouraging. This part may be the most challenging because scolding a child is often what comes naturally initially. But in this case, see if you can ignore the negative behavior, and then provide positive attention when they stop. This is called active ignoring. By withdrawing your attention when children behave poorly, it sends a message that they need to stop what they are doing for them to be able to get the attention they are seeking.
Be spontaneous when giving positive attention
Children often crave attention as much as adults do. Who doesn’t, right? You know how some things are a lot sweeter and meaningful when they occur unexpectedly? Make it a habit to give out unsolicited affirmations, as this will have a great effect on your child’s mood. Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. If you are shown appreciation by someone, your mood will usually be lifted.
Create a positive environment
When children grow up in a warm, nurturing environment, it promotes a holistic growth. The tone you set at home should be positive, as this is essential for a child’s drive to be his or her bestelf. Doing so inspires children and will usually bring out their best. Whether your child is at home or at school, a positive atmosphere is beneficial to his or her social-emotional well-being and disposition.
With every little accomplishment, acknowledge. Your child’s little victories are yours too. Every step, no matter how big or small, must always count. From things that they do right, to the littlest of achievements, acknowledge.
Create a stronger bond
It can be quite challenging as you try to transition to a new approach and break the habit of making unnecessary comments every time your child misbehaves. Keeping your cool may be difficult, but in the long run it is necessary. Just like any other habit, achieving this change can be achieved through constant application. Try choosing and writing down your choice of words ahead of time for moments when you find yourself caught in a tough situation. It is also helpful to allot at least 10-15 minutes a day when you can give your child your full, undivided attention. Create a list of fun activities together that you and your child can do each day. For example, you could play a card game. When you choose an activity, you can make it fun and nurturing at the same time. Other ideas include board games, arts and crafts, playing make-believe, or dress-up. This will not only be helpful in creating a strong bond between you and your child, it will also remind you of your own childhood and help you stay young at heart.
Giving children positive attention may seem hard to do at first, but it can be as easy as counting to three. Giving your child positive attention is all about speaking and using kind words. The goal of this approach is to create a healthy relationship between you and your child.
It always pays to know more. For more helpful parenting tips, please visit us at Young Scholars Academy.