Positive Reinforcement

As I was wiping down the table after snack one day, a squabble erupted in the library area. After struggling over the same book, the victor held it stubbornly and watched while the loser dissolved into tears.  

“It’s not fair” this six-year-old said, pouting and looking hopelessly sad.

After listening for a moment I put in my two cents: “You know what to do, I’ve see you do it many times before. ¬†Please tell him what you want using your regular voice.”

After taking some moments to compose herself, she said calmly and clearly: “Could I please have that book when you are done?”

The other child immediately handed it over, much to everyone’s surprise. This positive reinforcement was more powerful than any praise or encouragement from any adult!

The original loser, now a victor in more ways than one, thanked her friend, and everyone went back to life as normal, reading and wiping tables, but this time with a clear sense of satisfaction pervading the room.