Parenting is a massive undertaking. It is a responsibility that we should and do take very seriously. We are charged with raising these little people into strong, self-assured, and capable adults. This is not always easy and often we get so caught up in teaching them the rules and keeping them safe that we forget deliberate praise.
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It is important, though, and can do wonders for the entire dynamic of a parent-child relationship. When you use positive reinforcement it solidifies their desire to continue the desired behavior and also helps you to stay positive as a parent. When you are seeking out the good in addition to it occurring more frequently, you will also notice it more often.
This all makes sense in theory but imagine now that your kids have been fighting since breakfast, you were late getting the eldest to school, and nap time was an uphill battle in the afternoon with the babies. You are stressed, cranky, and by dinner you are ready to snap. It is a lot harder to remember the importance of positive reinforcement when you’re ready to tear your hair out. At least it is for me.
I needed something to help me on those really tough days and you likely do too. After a lot of brainstorming (and trial and error) I was finally able to come up with a solution that I hope will help you and your family as well: Busted Cards. These are a simple concept that you can utilize in your everyday life.
Print out these free Busted cards on a sheet of cardstock and cut them out.
Write each of your children’s names on a card.
When you “bust” them doing something good, punch out one of the holes.
- Keep the cards and hole punch in a clear, re-sealable bag. When at home, hold it to your fridge with a magnetic clip. Toss the bag into your purse or diaper bag when on the go.
- Each card should last about a week if you try to “bust” your kids 2-4 times a day (which I recommend for it to effectively help you become more positive in your parenting).
- Stick with it. If the end of the day is getting close and you still haven’t punched any holes, don’t give up. Try to find even small praises for your kids:– Thank you for keeping your elbows off of the table during dinner.– You were so patient while I put your little sister to bed before we read our book.– I love that you came in right away when I told you it was time to stop playing outside.
- If you would like to provide extra incentive for your kids, get some small toys and tell them that they get to pick on when they fill up their card. (You don’t have to tell them it should fill up weekly since that part is more to help you be a positive parent than it is for them to behave better.)