What is Positive Reinforcement?

This is where we provide the children with lots of positive praise throughout different games and activities in as a way of encouraging the children to continue to listen and take part in your session.​

The benefits of using positive reinforcement are increasing self confidence of the individual and promoting positivity through exercise as well as avoiding the negative impacts of punishments and negative reinforcement

This type of reinforcement works for children of all age groups although those in Early Years will respond best as they will look for attention through praise or a reward.

There are two main examples in Early Years of how we use positive reinforcement to manage behaviour. These are the main ways we would like you to manage behaviour in Early Years settings. We will go through some different techniques that you can try however positive reinforcement should always be tried first

1. Whilst during the session giving verbal feedback to individuals in the group will motivate them to try harder and continue with the activity for longer, or giving a high 5 to an individual who has completed a new skill. You could even ask the children to say 1 good thing they saw their friend do during the session

2. Reward based reinforcement through our certificate or medal which is given out weekly. This is also very effective as the children all know that if they follow instructions then they have a chance to win in front of their friends.

How Certificate/Medal helps manage behaviour

  • One of the easiest ways that we are able to maintain attention in your sessions is through our weekly certificate and medal.​

  • It is made clear at the beginning of every session the three things they are required to do if they would like to win the certificate this week and we can use this reward based reinforcement in many ways:​

  • 1. Rewarding children that have maintained good behavior and attention throughout the session. You should always explain to the rest of the group the reason why the child you have chosen won the certificate and let them know what they need to improve on next week to be in for a chance to win.​

  • ​2. Using the certificate as a way to remind the group of the behavior expected to win the certificate and how repeated negative behaviour / incidents from a group can result in the threat of nobody winning the certificate. It is perfectly normal for a group of children to have a bad day, if this happens it is very effective to then use your certificate and medal as a way to spark improvement within the group.​

  • 3. Using the certificate as a way to increase participation. It may take certain children longer to adapt to you as a Coach due to them not being familiar with you. Once the child overcomes this obstacle, by rewarding them with a certificate or a medal, you will be increasing the chances of that child returning to your sessions every week as they will have developed a positive association between you, your session and the potential rewards.

If you are not sure on who to pick for your certificate, ask a staff member or teacher and get their input. This helps develop your relationship with them and find out a bit more information on your group of children. You should avoid giving the same children the rewards where possible.

Early Years

During Early years, where the children are a lot younger they tend to explore different behaviours and build different and unique relationships with one another. At this age children are very sensitive and not intentionally showing poor behaviour, they are just learning and testing their environment. With this in mind, it is important that we respond accordingly to ensure that they do not develop a negative association with a certain activity such as sport because of the way we as coaches and role models have intervened. Techniques to use / avoid:​

  • Use a variety of voice tones when explainging or demonstrating games to the children, this will help with maintain the childrens level of engagement however DO NOT SHOUT at the children in nurseries or use any aggressive tones. ​

  • Do not sit children out as they can feel excluded from the session and may not want to join back in. Within a nursery session, you will always be with another member of staff who works with in the nursery. If a particular child is being difficult or disruptive, simply ask that staff member to intervene and assist. If it continues, that staff member will most likely take the child inside or out of the session.​

  • ALWAYS use the correct vocabulary when in nursery settings and promote correct manners and behaviours. These include:​

  • Yes please and no thank you, kind hands, gentle hands, ​

  • AVOID negative terms such as naughty and bad, if needed use terms such as ‘oh no, tommy isn't making good choices’​

Ways to maintain Attention in Early Years Settings

  • Explain to children why they must listen and behave. It is here where you should really exaggerate the story/game/mission that you and the children will be playing today as this is where you will ensure the children maintain their concentration. Always finish your explanations with a question that will get the entire group to answer and shout out. This not only shows they are listening but gives you a good idea as to how the game will go down. If all the children start jumping and shouting out what you have asked, it is a clear indication they are excited to take part, if not you either haven't delivered the explanation with enough energy or the children are not interested, either way I would proceed with the game to begin with but if the children don’t take to it, change the game and try something else. Not every game and session will work with every child, be prepared to change it up and try new things.​

  • Do we want to have fun and play games?​

  • Who is ready to go on our mission today to the moon?​

  • If we are ready to sail on our pirate ship can everybody put your hands on your head, knees, shoulders etc​

  • Who is going to be the fastest rocket? Who is going to be a red/blue/green​

  • Who can be as tall as a giraffe and touch the stars?

  • As you ask all of these interactive questions, again it is important you throw a lot of energy at the children to get the best responses. As you set the activity off, always provide constant feedback to the children to keep them engaged e.g. Wow Tommy, look how fast you are going! Who’s car has a horn? Can we press the horn, beep beep.​

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