TIP: ACKNOWLEDGE GOOD BEHAVIOR
by Dr. Carol Renaud Gaffney
Copyright Carol R. Gaffney, Ph.D. 1996
Children will repeat what is paid attention to. So-o-o if you want them to repeat a certain behavior, acknowledge it - somehow let them know that you have noticed. I found myself doing just the opposite of what I wanted to accomplish when my kids were small. I was usually so glad when they were quiet and playing well and totally engaged that I would tiptoe around and not want to disturb the atmosphere and then when they started "getting into it" I would get into it with them. That sure backfired until I realized that I was rewarding them with my attention (Yes, negative attention works just as well as positive - what they can't stand is being ignored) and that this attention was supporting and encouraging the stuff I was hoping to get rid of.
You don't go have to go out of your way or spend money to give attention. A pat on the head, "good job", "attaboy" or "attagirl", a moment here or a moment there spread out over time is all it takes.