I know I have to say 'No' to my child when he misbehaves, but how can I make sure I'm getting in enough positive reinforcement?
Do the math: The goal is always to praise a child more than you discipline them--but how much more? Three? Four times as much? That means for every 10 corrections (“Don't hit your brother!” “Chew with your mouth closed!”) You’re trying to find 30-40 positive things to say! It can be a pretty big goal to work towards, so look for all the little opportunities ("Thank you for putting your shoes away." "I like the way you're speaking to your sister.")
See positive reinforcement in action: As a rule, I know if I've had to say "No" more than 3 times in 5 minutes then it is time to change my game. When my kids are acting up the most, that's when they need to hear the most praise from me. But boy, can it be hard to find something positive to say in the middle of a temper tantrum! Try digging up some old examples: "Remember yesterday when you did all your chores without being asked and then you got a sticker? That was awesome, wasn't it? I was so proud of you!"
Nanny Carrie's Tip: Do away with apologies. Instead of asking your child to say "I'm sorry for hitting,” or "I won't use bad words anymore," get them to focus on the positive. "Next time I'll be more gentle," or "I'm going to use my best manners." It gives them something constructive to work towards instead of focusing on what they did wrong.