5 Positive Reinforcement Ideas (Quality Time)


Written by Alison Smith

Are you looking for a positive reinforcement strategy to motivate your students? Have the positive reinforcement strategies that you are currently using ‘lost their mojo’? In this article, I’m going to share 5 easy and effective ways that you can create a positive classroom culture bursting with a desire to achieve, positive behaviours and lasting connection with your students!

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Positive Reinforcement and Quality Time

So, you’re probably well aware of the ongoing debate over using extrinsic (external rewards) motivators versus intrinsic (internal desire) motivators. I’m on the fence – I think a balance of both works well. But for me, the concept of spending quality time with students, as an incentive or a reward, wins!

But how can you possibly find the time? Stay with me to find out how…


Giving students your undivided attention helps to:

  • strengthen relationships
  • build and maintain student/teacher connection
  • boost student self-esteem
  • motivate students
  • nurture and internal desire to work hard and achieve.

I’d go as far as to say that spending quality time with your students could possibly be the best motivator out there! Next up, find out how experienced teachers are using quality time for positive reinforcement…

Share a Pot of Tea

We love the idea of sharing a pot of tea with students from @ourcreativeclassroom. Ceri Edwards is best known for her fun-loving approach to teaching and her ability to connect with her students on an inspiring level! We are huge Ceri fans!

We found some cute teacups, a vintage teapot and our Geometric Boho – Award Certificate.

Geometric Boho – Award Certificate

Sharing a pot of tea is a tradition that’s said to date back to 2737 BCE! So get the kettle on and give your student a chance to have tea with the teacher. Use the time to let your students know how proud you are of their achievements! You could even discuss some new goals?

Here’s how @ourcreativeclassroom does it…

sharing a pot of tea for positive reinforcement.


To get to know teacher influencer Ceri Edwards better, listen to her inspiring podcast on For the Love of Teaching.

Plan a Lunch Date

I know that an actual break at lunchtime is rare. However, if you can find the time (once a week), to enjoy your lunch with a deserving student you will make their day. Granted this may have more appeal for the lower years students, but I know first hand how ecstatic my son was to tell me had a lunch date with his prep teacher.

sharing lunch with your students.

The great thing about this positive reinforcement strategy is that it forces you to sit down and to take a break. Try to block out the huge number of things that you have to do and give a child some undivided attention. Just hang out and have chats about their interests and hobbies.

For more ideas on how to celebrate student success read my blog 11 Ways to Celebrate Student Success.

Send  a Teacher Note Home

Make your students’ day and provide positive reinforcement by sending a teacher note home. Let your student’s family know how well they are doing by writing a short note. Don’t forget to spend 5 -minutes of quality time with your star student, reading the note and sharing your praise.

I used our Positive Parent Notes – Stars for a bright and starry teacher note template.

positive reinforcement with parent notes.

For more fascinating insights into behaviour management read Emma’s blog Why You Should Dig Deeper into Challenging Behaviour.

Special Helper

Why do kids love being a teacher helper so much? I think it’s because they love the feeling of having a special relationship with their teacher as a helper. What’s more, they love the responsibility. So don’t forget to use special helper duty as a positive reinforcement tool. For example, when you catch one of your students kicking goals, reward them with special helper duties. Everyone wins!

Check out our  Star Student Badges collection for the perfect special helper accessory. I used Tranquil Watercolour – Star Student Badges.

positive reinforcement with star student badges.

If you’re struggling with behaviour management in your classroom, you’re not alone. Head to out Behaviour Collection for useful teaching resources.

Soccer Playdate

I love the idea of rewarding students with a soccer playdate because it breaks convention. What’s more, it’s a highly effective positive reinforcement strategy because the act of playing builds a lasting connection between teacher and students. So, find 15 minutes a week to kick a ball around with a group of deserving students.

If you don’t know where to start with soccer, use our Soccer Coaching Drills – Task Cards to get your playdate started!

having quality time playing soccer.

Shutterstock image by dotshock

Soccer isn’t for everyone. So, encourage your students to choose a game or activity that they enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget that it’s important not to cancel last minute! So, put it in your diary and commit.

Give it a Try!

To sum it up, giving your students a short amount for undivided, quality time is a highly effective positive reinforcement strategy.

Finding time is difficult, I understand. However, it can be done! In fact, experienced teachers near and far are showing us how it can be done. Quality time is one of the most valued treasures for students. So give it a go!

Before I go…I’m by no means suggesting that quality time should be limited to these special events. Quality time is already happening in classrooms every minute of every day. These are just ways to boost your positive reinforcement strategies. FYI you are doing an amazing job!

Share your quality time wins on Instagram #teachstarter

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Comments & feedback

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I’ve asked my class at the end of each year whether to keep or bin different strategies. Tea with the Teacher is always a favourite!

Ceri Edwards · Nov 5th, 2019

Love it!! It’s great to show other teachers that Tea with the Teacher is doable during busy days. The Teach Starter team love your work and your Instagram stories make us smile every day. Have a great day, Ali

Alison Smith · Nov 6th, 2019

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