From time to time, each of us will find ourselves in a rut of boredom or disinterest. We seem to feel tired, irritable, and unmotivated. Children are no exception... Some kids are self-motivated. Other kids are less motivated and need a little bit more structure and inspiration to get the ball moving. Either way, helping your child develop motivation will take time, encouragement, and patience.
Motivating children best involves going easy on the rewards and punishments while cultivating their inner motivation. As they grow, recognizing the feelings of pride and accomplishments they experience will continue to keep them motivated to succeed into adulthood. As parents, it's our responsibility to guide them into learning how to recognize and become aware of these feelings.
Here are a few ways to encourage positive motivation in your child.
Take a "Time Out"
Prolonged stress can wear them down and zap enthusiasm. It may take some time to establish a new routine and habits so prepare them to be patient and enjoy the process. Empty their mind of all the stress and worry. This takes practice, but don't give up!
Make this a collaborative process with your child. Get them involved and ask them what they would like to accomplish, achieve, or learn. Make a list of activities you want to do with your child, set a few short-term and long-term goals. Ensure that they are achievable but requires a bit of effort.
Create a Strategy
To achieve their goals,, they need a plan. Help your child devise an action plan for reaching their goals.
Acknowledge & Encourage
During the process, your child may get frustrated, or make a mistake. Teaching that a mistake is not an endpoint for them, but rather a starting point for their development will provide a mindset for growth instead of giving up. Validating and recognizing that some things are difficult will help your child feel understood and supported during the goal-reaching process.
Despite the challenges to achieving their goals, we need to acknowledge and encourage their hard work. As a parent, you want to enjoy and share in your child's successes! Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. "I can see you are proud of that test score you've got." Do you know why you are proud? Because you worked hard and didn't give up! I am proud of you too."
Each child is unique and has different interests and goals in life. We, as parents, will be there to guide them in the right direction even when their motivation wanes. Motivating your child will benefit them for the rest of their lives, if you teach them to do it themselves!
-Coaching Kids 4 Success, Michelle Forcier