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Positive Reinforcement with Children

The quarantine has sure tested my patience with my children. Although the stay at home order has been lifted, we are still under quarantine because we have high-risk individuals in our family. My kids and I are with each other all the time, every hour of every day. Initially, at the beginning of the quarantine, I found myself finding all the wrong things that my kids were doing. It was me constantly saying, "stop fighting," "pick up your clothes," "put your dishes in the sink," "stop bickering," etc.

It seems to always be negative things that I was noticing. Then I realized something else was happening with my kids. They're actually getting along a lot better than they did before the quarantine. While my brain was a little stressed and only seeing the negatives, I allowed myself to start seeing the positives. I started noticing small things that are helping make our situation so much better. My son started taking on more responsibilities and helping out with his sisters. He would sometimes get up in the morning and get

them breakfast just so I can stay in bed a little longer. He keeps them entertained while I am on work calls and tends to their needs. My daughter has also been helping out and matured a great deal these past few months. She stopped bothering her brother so much and started respecting his space. She learned to ask rather than demand when she wants one of his toys.

My kids started helping out around the household as well. They learned how to sweep, mop, and vacuum. They're 100% excited to do these things and ask often if they can help. They tend to our garden and make sure nothing is eating our plants and everything is well watered. They've matured a great deal during this quarantine and learned a wealth of new things.

When I started seeing how much change was happening in our household, I decided to make an extra effort to let my kids know that I am noticing. Thus, I will randomly stop in the middle of cooking or washing dishes and go give them a hug. I tell them how much I love them and how much I appreciate everything they do. Different times of the day, I will notice them doing good things and go point it out and let them know I see the efforts they're making. One time my son gave his baby sister some milk and she immediately spilled some of the milk on the table and floor. He grabbed a towel and cleaned everything up without asking me to intervene. I watched the whole thing from the living room. It was such a great moment, so I called him over and let him know that I saw everything. I gave him a hug and told him how proud I am of him for (A) not getting mad at his sister and (B) for cleaning up her mess.

Wallahi, in giving my kids more positive attention and reinforcement, our entire family has been so much calmer. Our tone of voice has gone down, we smile so much more, and we don't mind being with each other every minute of every day.

You don't have to give your kids big gifts or rewards as positive reinforcement. Simple things work very well, hugs and kisses speak volumes. Positive wording, instead of nagging or arguing over things works amazingly. Just let your kids know you are aware of how difficult this situation is and you're proud of every effort they're making.

What positive things have you noticed about your children lately? Let us know in the comments section below.

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