Now you are starting to offer Positive Attention
Positive Attention is noticing and acknowledging what children do well. Children thrive on attention and all children, particularly young children will take any attention they can get. Children will seek out attention in many ways and often children discover that it is easier to get attention through negative attention, so therefore it is a learned behaviour. This typically results in the child displaying more unwanted acts of behavior, shouting, fighting, hitting as they know parents will not ignore this. What parents do ignore and it is only because of busy lives are the things children are trying to do well, getting dressed, eating breakfast, playing nicely etc. Instead parents become very skilled at noticing all of the negative behaviour , using up energy trying to man put consequences in place instead of stopping to ask – ‘what is happening behind this behavior?’. What is your child trying to tell you, remember behavior is your child’s language for most of the child and teen life, unless you teach them the language to talk with you?
Offering positive attention from early years will support a strong secure attachment to form for your child, a base they can operate safely from as they grow and start to explore the world in later years. Parents can help children to feel to feel valued, respected and loved when they offer positive attention through positive messages of praise and approval. This in turn will support the development of children’s self- confidence and self-esteem.
You can encourage the use of positive attention by:
Agree as parents to always say something positive before commenting on the negative. For example, great work getting your shoes on today, tomorrow we will work on getting them on the right feet.
Or, really great to see you have tidied up all your cars, now I need to see some tidying on your books please.
Or I love to see how kind you are to your little sister, sharing that teddy with her; I would like to see you also been a little gentler with her.
Both parents need to work from the same page and support your child to see that they can attract your attention by behaving well – you will notice and you will reward them by noticing.
When children need further support to do more of the positive behaviors you know they can do then take a look at star charts, family meetings, use of sticker rewards, quiet time to help you support them to do more of what you need. This is usually a more supportive way of working with young children than focusing on consequences for when they go wrong. Help them succeed!