I start threatening….warning……explaining the Naughty v. Nice list to my little one around Thanksgiving. Today is the last day I can use the “I’m about to text Santa” line with her to get her to fall into line.

Toddlers are tough. They can challenge your sanity. They love to defy orders as they learn to exert control over themselves and the world.
This week I’ve been practicing positive encouragement. My patience is short. As a single mom balancing a demanding work schedule, housework that won’t quit and a toddler who challenges my every word–I do my fair share of yelling.
Positive reinforcement works for my daughter for so many reasons.

1. She feels appreciated

Every time my daughter followed directions, from small to large things, she was praised for her actions. Her face lit up and she was proud of herself. Simply saying ‘I love the way you cleaned up all that orange peel you left on the sofa’ can make your child strive to do things that will make you proud. Children generally look forward to doing things that grant them the sense of self-worth and validity.

2. It encourages her to be better

Positive reinforcement creates an inner motivation for my daughter to be better. She seeks praise and good feelings, instead of thinking he might get in trouble if she doesn’t behave well.

3. She feels better about herself

Positive reinforcement boosts a child’s self-esteem. Instead of sitting in the corner feeling like she’s bad or naughty, she feels loved and comforted for her good behavior. It builds confidence. It builds a sense of pride.

A Case Study:

Mocha Mommy: Baby girl! Let’s write our thank you letter to Santa! He bought you so many nice things!

< Baby Girl: Screw Face //  Complaining // General ungratefulness
Mocha Mommy: Baby girl, you have such wonderful penmanship….I KNOW Santa would love to have your letter at the North Pole. I’m sure he would LOVE to know how thankful you are. You did such a good job being a good girl all year…you made it to the Nice List so let’s thank Santa for all your presents!
Baby Girl: Ohhhhhh…..Ok Mommy!


Nia Lawrence has over 10 years of experience working as an Art Director at some of the top magazinesin New York City. She was responsible for creating visual content for companies such as Real Simple, Latina, Redbook, Women's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Suede and Victoria's Secret.. ​ Brooklyn, NY is home to the mom of one who currently runs the Nia Lawrence Design Studio, a print and digital marketing company.

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