This summer (yes, I know it seems a long time ago now) a friend introduced me to the world of ‘Bejeweled’.
I am not a big fan of computer games, but I was stuck on a long haul flight to the U.S., and with another 9 hours to go, was happy to explore something new.
bejeweled-2-24So that was it, a few rounds on a plane…. a few more on the way home…. downloaded the app and I can reassure you that after the initial-incredibly-addictive-phase, it is now definitely firmly in its place as a well controlled go-to when I choose to play every now and again.
What struck me the most as I was getting better at playing, moving around the different shaped gems and going up through the stages of games, were the words. It is a game PACKED with positive re-inforcement.
So far my games have been interrupted while my screen has been plastered with one of the following

  • GOOD
  • NICE
  • COOL

bejeweled-2-18I like feedback – especially positive feedback! One simple word can convey so much.

And I am a grown up – I know it is just a computer game, but it has had me really reflecting on the frequency of positive words that I hear sprinkled into conversations with children by their parents and school staff.

It is not rocket science to know that children like hearing positive things, knowing they have done well, that you like them, that you notice the effort they are putting into something, that you are cheering for them.

If a computer game can pop out such a variety of positive encouragements…. I have to ask…

  • What is our frequency of positivity?
  • How often do we use these positive words in our interactions with children?
  • How wide is our vocabulary of encouragement or praise?
  • Is our bar a bit too high?
  • Do we expect miracles before we squeeze out an occasional ‘good job’ or ‘well done’?

I wonder what might happen to the children around us if we started to use more and more of these in our conversations with them – might they want to ‘play the game’ more and more?
Might they get a triple bonus –(1) the pride of their own action AND (2) being noticed by someone AND (3) hearing encouragement for something they have done?

Have you ever played POSITIVES BINGO with your children or class?
Work out a grid of positive words like the ones above, and give the children a copy each.
Whenever they hear you (the adult) use one of those words in a day (or long journey, shopping trip, lesson etc), they get to cross it off. So often we get the children to change their behaviour and we may or may not notice…this way round their role-model adults show them how it is done. I’d love to hear how it goes if you dare … 😉


PS If you have also played Bejeweled and have had other positive encouragements I haven’t encountered yet, do let me know!