We can improve behavior by 80%, just by pointing out what one person is doing correctly. (Shores, Gunter, Jack-1993)



The 5 Languages Of Appreciation At Work:


1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
4. Tangible Gifts
5. Physical Touch

Source: Chapman & White (2012)


When we want compliance from a non-compliant child, we should offer equal choices and deliver the direction from the right side of the student. (Cosden et al.; and Tomassi & Marzoli).



Having Fun With PBIS:


Acknowledging positive behaviors is a great means to prevent challenging behaviors. Take the acronym: PALPATES, which denotes all the privileges that can be given to children who follow rules and demonstrate positive behaviors.

1) Privileges (Earning special privileges)
2) Attention (Quality Time with Adults and Peers)
3) Leadership (Earning Leadership Roles)
4) Praise (Social Praise- Name in Lights)
5) Assistance (Special Assistance in a Topic of Their Choice)
6) Touch (High Five)
7) Escape (Escape from a Task or Chore)
8) Supplies (School Supplies)

Acronym Source: Laura A. Riffel, Ph.D.



When Not To Give Any Positive Feedback:


After any expression of challenging behavior from the child. All this means that our well-intended, negative reactions can actually increase children’s challenging behaviors. Also, remember that when withholding attention for children’s challenging behaviors, children’s negative behaviors may initially get worse before getting better.

By consistently withholding attention for children’s challenging behaviors, you will see initial improvement followed by some variability (i.e., good days, bad days), followed by more consistently good days.

– A toddler who receives laughter and applause for making a funny face is likely to keep making funny faces.
– While many children are transitioning appropriately, one child refuses to put away the cars he took out. This child is likely to capture the most teacher attention.
– A child who continues to repeatedly run toward the classroom door. When the caregiver shouts, “Don’t make me come over there; you know not to leave the classroom,” the child may be more likely to run for the door again in the future.
– When a caregiver tells a child that she cannot go outside because she dumped her toys on the floor, the child is not being taught how to put the toys away. Teaching how to put toys away should be taught to the child.



Target Behavior Vs. Replacement Behavior


Target Behavior Vs. Replacement Behavior



The Flip Side Of Too Much Praise:


Interestingly, giving inflated praise (e.g., “You made an incredibly beautiful drawing!”) to children with low self-esteem tends to backfire, leading to such children decreasing their challenge seeking and avoiding crucial learning experiences that would be conducive to their growth.

Source: Brummelman, E., Thomaes, S., de Castro, B. O., Overbeek, G., & Bushman, B. J. (2014).

“That’s not just beautiful—that’s incredibly beautiful!”: The adverse impact of inflated praise on children with low self esteem. Psychological Science, 25(3), 728–735.


We know we can improve behavior by labeling with behavior specific praise; but we use it less than 10% of the time (Haydon et al.)



The 3 R’s Of PBIS:


As educators and care givers, we need three strands of intervention for every behavior.

1. Revision of the Environment
2. Replacement of the Behavior
3. Reframing the Response


All students must learn and practice the 3 R’s of PBIS to be able to put positive behaviors into action.

They are: Be Ready! Be Responsible! Be Respectful!


Way To Go And Good Job Phrases



Enabling The Right Behavior Responses:


Planning is essential to ensure that acknowledging children’s positive behaviors has the intended positive outcomes.

Design a classroom plan to meet your individual needs.

A. Start with one desirable child behavior and one or just a few children.
B. Define the child behavior you would like to increase
C. Consider where, when, and how often to look for that desired behavior.
D. Think of situations that might increase the likelihood that children engage in the desired behavior.

We have to set up the system to make three changes:

1. Set up the environment to set the students up for success
2. Teach replacement behaviors so they know exactly what the appropriate behavior looks like, sounds like, and feels like.
3. Reframe our response so we feed the replacement behavior and extinguish the target behaviors.


* * *


About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like. 

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

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