Positive Practice

If you read the article on Immediate Re-practice, you might recall that Judy had a tendency to double-dip, yet warnings not to do it again didn’t seem to work. With mom’s instructions, Judy did an Immediate Re-practice and practiced right then and there how to stop herself from double-dipping via a one-time practice using self-control and telling herself “Stop, I’m not gonna’ double dip. I’ll just put some dip on my plate using a clean spoon.”

Suppose Judy continues to double-dip even after she learned about the red and green behaviors of double-dipping vs. eating dip from my own plate, and mom made her do the Immediate Re-practice. Assuming that Judy isn’t double-dipping purposely to get mom angry or to get negative attention (because if that’s the case, mom might need to inject more positive attention by catching Judy when she’s green and praising her), what can mom do now?

Some children may have shorter memory spans, or may not see the need to use self-control. They don’t share mom’s vision of keeping public bowls separate from personal portions. To assist with the memory as well as the importance of using self-control, mom might tell Judy to do a Positive Practice.

Some children make the calculation that ‘I’d rather do it right the first time, than have to practice it five times …’

How is Positive Practice done? Mom might tell Judy “I need you to practice using self-control 5 times. You will pretend 5 times that you’re about to double-dip, but you stop yourself short each time and tell yourself to put some on your plate using a clean spoon.” This is similar to an Immediate Re-practice, however the child practices more times when doing a Positive Practice.

The reason Positive Practice works: In addition to being a kinesthetic/tactile learning experience, Positive Practice is not always a fun task to do. Some children make the calculation that ‘I’d rather do it right the first time, than have to practice it five times …’ Regarding memory issues, doing the green behavior once might just stay in working memory and then be forgotten, however doing it 5 or 10 times, makes the information go into short-term memory. Praising the child for doing the green behavior each day thereafter, gets the information into long-term memory.

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