A child can be made to learn in many ways. Knowingly or unknowingly, many of the parents follow the reinforcement techniques in order to make the child learn good behavior.


Reinforcement is strengthening of a new response by its repeated association with a stimulus. An important component of the learning process is the schedule of reinforcement. Reinforcement of certain behavior on when and how often it is done can have a dramatic impact on the strength and rate of the response.

The instances of a behavior will be reinforced by stating a schedule of reinforcement. A behavior might be reinforced every time it occurs and might not be reinforced at all. Responses that lead to desirable behaviours are strengthened and those are likely to be repeated, responses lead to undesirable behaviours are weakened and unlikely to be repeated.

Depending upon the situation, one can use either positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. However, the goal of reinforcement remains to strengthen the behavior and increase the likelihood that it will occur again in the future.

You can follow a specific reinforcement schedule, for situations where you are purposely trying to train and reinforce an action, such as in the classroom or in sports.

There are two types of reinforcement schedules

 Continuous Reinforcement

The desired behavior can be reinforced each and every time it occurs. In order to create a strong association between the behavior and the response, this schedule is best used during the initial stages of learning. Once the response if firmly attached, reinforcement is usually switched to a variable reinforcement schedule.

Variable Reinforcement

In Variable reinforcement, the response is reinforced only part of the time. In cases where you are specifically trying to teach a new behavior, a continuous schedule can actually be a good choice. Once the behavior has been learned, switching to a variable schedule is often preferable.

If the reinforcement is no longer rewarding, the subject may stop performing the desired behavior. For example, imagine that you are trying to teach a child to write. If you are using chocolate as a reward, the child might stop performing the action once he/she is full. In such cases, something like praise or attention might be a more effective reinforcement. Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for desirable behaviour.

Praise as reinforcement

Praise is one of the most powerful tools parents can use to encourage good behaviour in children. Lots of praise will help make children build confidence. It costs nothing to praise a child and the great thing is that it makes feel good as well

  • Praise generously and as often as possible.
  • Make it a point to praise every bit of good behaviour, no matter how small
  • Praise your child immediately after the good behaviour. Don’t expect them to be perfect.
  • Always maintain eye contact with your child, while you do this to show your genuinity. Be enthusiastic and genuine.
  • While praising, tell your child about what exactly made you praise him/her

  • Keep using the words like “brilliant”, “great”, “wonderful” and tell him/her that you are proud and pleased.
  • Talk only about the good behaviour you have witnessed. Don’t confuse them by being critical at the same time.
  • Don’t stop praising, even if the child misbehaves after you praise him/her.
  • It takes time for some children to get used to being praised before they believe they can actually change their own behaviour.
  • Praise your child in front of other people who might also add to your praising words.
  • Along with the verbal praise, heartfelt gestures like hugs and kisses are important to help your child learn more quickly.
  • “I am really pleased when” you arranged your schoolbag. Similarly use your own creativity to praise the child.
  • Do not give praise and criticism together, e.g. do not say “Well done, but why can’t you do it all the time”
  • Give rewards often to be most useful
  • As a general rule, young children up to the age of four years need to be rewarded immediately. Children between 4-8 years should have a reward every 1-2 days. For Older children should not wait for more than one week before being offered a reward
  • Don’t take a reward away, once you promised it. You should always follow-through the treats your child has earned.

Examples of rewards

Some of the examples of rewards that you can offer your child are

  • Playing for 10 minutes
  • Extra story at bedtime
  • Going out doors like beach
  • Doing painting
  • Playing with water in the garden
  • Getting a magazine
  • Inviting a friend to play
  • Playing video games
  • Visiting a favorite cousin

What Happens?

Learning is more likely to take place when the learner understands the relationship between behaviour and consequences. The behaviour of the learner when reinforced by stimuli, learning occurs. Children learn that a certain deed is encouraged when received a positive reinforcement and they feel discouragement towards such deeds for which they receive punishments. Hence appraisal and support from parents, which work as positive reinforcement are necessary for them for the encouragement of good behavior.

But, Negative reinforcement is somewhat different from giving punishments. Negative reinforcement is a kind of aversive stimulus. It is like a parent buying a chocolate because of the irritation caused by the child’s tantrums. The tantrums are negative reinforcement which resulted in getting what a child wants. But as such deeds shouldn’t be encouraged, Negative reinforcement should be discouraged.

Well, how do they work? Simple. As the child memorizes the results associated with the positive reinforcement, he/she is encouraged to repeat that activity. Not only the behavioral responses, but also the academic results can be influenced with reinforcement techniques. When the child is motivated in such a way, even the memory of the child improves.

Nature of memory

Many students struggle to remember lot of information and sometimes they get overwhelmed and report that their mind goes blank.  Retaining information is closely related to academic success since exams are designed to test what you’ve retained from classroom and individual study.

What is memory?

Memory refers to storage and retrieval of information.

  • The positive aspect of memory is retention or remembering
  • The negative aspect of memory is forgetting

Three basic processes in memory

  1. Encoding — information into a form that can be entered into memory
  2. Storage—the process which we put information into a way in which we encode the information
  3. Retrieval—the process of getting access to the stored information and removing it out for actual use

Types of memory

  1. Sensory memory—visual sensory registers information for 1 second while auditory sensory register holds information for 4 to 5 seconds
  2. Short term memory—is a working memory where conscious mental processes are performed, can hold information for 30 seconds,
  3. Long term memory— unlimited capacity, permanent memory store of information for a long period of time

To know more like the techniques of memory management and how that memory should be enhanced in children, read how to improve memory in studies and how to deal with forgetfulness. Tips were also mentioned for improving attention and concentration. Some Smart reading techniques for children can also be seen.

If you feel like having a word with an expert so as to have a wholesome idea on how your children are doing and to have some tips to improve their condition, or to have a career counselling to know the next step for their better career, book an appointment, today.


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