A Simple Way to Encourage Positive Student Behavior


Effective classroom management is essential to your daily routine, but it can feel like you’re still addressing negative behaviors all day long. When you’re in the midst of a classroom that takes so much energy to keep learning on track, it’s essential to do what you can to encourage positive student behavior. But this can be overwhelming! I’ve been there! Here are some tips to make it easier to encourage your kindergarten students to make good choices.

A simple way to encourage positive student behavior

Why It’s Important to Focus on Positive Student Behavior

There’s a reason why positive behavior reinforcement systems are so popular! Focusing on positive behavior in the classroom is a game changer, especially in kindergarten. Here are just a few reasons why it’s so important to focus on the positive choices your students are making:

  • Students Repeat What Has Been Reinforced: If the only time that you give your students individual attention is when you’re correcting negative behavior, you’re sending the message that negative behavior is what receives attention from the teacher. For some students, any attention from you will be a motivating factor for them!
  • Builds Community: When you recognize the positive things that are being done in your classroom, students will begin to recognize those things as well. This goes a long way in building a positive and encouraging classroom community!
  • Reduces Challenging Behavior: Over time, as you focus on positive student behavior, you will start to see more of that behavior in your classroom. While you’ll always have students who exhibit challenging behavior in the classroom, focusing on the positive choices they make can significantly reduce the other behaviors.

How to Encourage Positive Student Behavior

Even though it’s clear that focusing on positive student behavior is essential to classroom management, it’s another thing to actually do it! With everything going on in a kindergarten classroom, the challenging behaviors can feel like little fires that you’re putting out all day. Sometimes it feels like there’s little time to do much else than make sure that your students are safe as you go through your daily learning routine.

That is why I wanted to share some simple tips to help you encourage positive behavior in the classroom. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or complicated tools to improve student behavior. 

1. Implement a Whole-Class Reward System

The first tip is to implement a whole-class reward system if you haven’t already. It’s an easy and low-prep way to motivate the entire class to make positive choices.

Spring cookie reward system on a bulletin board

All you do is choose a positive behavior that you’d like to focus on as a class, then reward the class when you see individual students exhibiting that behavior. I like to do it this way instead of waiting for ALL of the students to demonstrate the behavior at the exact same time. There will always be a few students who try to sabotage the class when you do it this way, giving them the attention and control they’re seeking.

You can choose an engaging visual reward tracker to keep students motivated to work toward the goal. Once the entire tracker has been filled in, the class earns a predetermined reward. These rewards don’t have to be complicated or expensive! Extra recess, a quick dance party, or even free time can be very motivating for students.

2. Support Individual Students with Specific Behavior Goals

Sometimes your whole-class reward system won’t provide quite enough of an incentive for individual students. You also might have students who have more pressing behaviors that you need to address. This is when an individual reward system can come in handy! Students can have their own token board to track their progress in exhibiting a target behavior. Once the board is full, they will earn a pre-determined reward that is tailored to their interests.

Spring cookie reward system being used as an individual token system in a folder

You can even use an individual reward system that is the same as the whole-class incentive. This communicates to your student that the whole-class goal is also “for them” since it resembles their individual token system. This can be helpful when it’s time to transition your student from using an individualized reward.

3. Keep It Fresh!

The final tip that I have is to keep things fresh! Maintaining student buy-in can be one of the most challenging hurdles to any classroom management system. Young students thrive on consistency and routine, but that same consistency can cause reward systems to become less motivating.

Thanksgiving cookie reward system

One of my favorite ways to reduce reward fatigue is to use an incentive system that has seasonal reward options. You can easily swap out the rewards when the season changes, which can be enough to grab your students’ attention and recharge their interest in your reward system.

Printable Rewards to Encourage Positive Student Behavior

I have put together a low-prep cookie reward system that you can use to encourage positive student behavior in your classroom all year long. It has both whole-class and individual trackers to support all of the students in your classroom as they work toward specific behavior goals. Simply add cookies to the cookie sheets as students demonstrate the target behavior. You can also adjust the number of cookies that are required in order for students to earn their reward.

Cookie sheet token board with Christmas cookies

The best part of this reward system is that it comes with a variety of seasonal cookies! All you have to do is change out the cookies to keep kids feeling like it’s a brand new reward system each holiday or season. This is a great way to maintain student buy-in for your reward system.

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this easy-to-use resource, you can find it on TPT.

Class Cookies - Complete Behavior System Year-Long Bundle. Whole Group and Individual Charts!

Save These Tips for Positive Behavior in the Classroom

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find these tips and printables when you’re looking for a simple way to encourage positive behavior choices in your classroom.

How to Encourage Positive Student Behavior in Kindergarten


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