11 Tips on How to Motivate Children

Mother and son playing

Children need a supporting hand to guide them as they learn how to grapple with the world. A child must engage with his/her world and make the best of the opportunities available while keeping their feet firmly on the ground. Motivating your child to find something they love and them sticking with it can be hard. However, there are some methods that you can employ to getting your child interested in the things around them such as setting goals, planning and rewarding.

Best Ways to Motivate Your Child

Providing motivation for kids can seem like a daunting task especially when they grow a little older. Here are 11 tips on motivating children to do their best.

1. Setting Goals

One of the most important things to motivate your child is to set goals for him. Kids need direction and structure to guide them into better adults. Set easy goals for your child like cleaning up the table after studying or setting an alarm every night. One of the best ways to set goals is to have a discussion with your child on how to achieve these goals. Does your child want an alarm clock to set an alarm every day? Do they want to bake their own birthday cake? Make it interesting to the child and you are bound to see a marked difference.

2. Planning

Having a plan will also help your child understand structure. This should be done with the active involvement of your child. If they want to make it to their school’s basketball team, then what are the steps they are taking and how much practice will they need? Pay attention to your child’s input and they will automatically feel responsible for the task at hand.

3. Rewarding

Most parents fall into the trap of bribing their child into doing something whether it is cleaning their room or studying for an hour every day. While this might work in the short term, it will not help build character or instil values. While using rewards, think of meaningful things that will bring joy to your child. It could be a day spent with you or baking cookies together. Ask your child how they feel after they complete a task. This will teach them to understand that the experience itself and the feelings that come along could be the reward.

4. Explanations

Children love to have conversations that satisfy their curiosity. When asking your child to do something, take a moment to explain why they the need to do a task. The worldview of your child can be very different and not necessarily logical. As an adult, you need to find compelling reasons and figure out what motivates your child. Examples include telling your child that cleaning his room would allow them and their friends to be able to play easily.

5. Encouraging

Encouragement is vital to not just children, but adults too. Engage in positive reinforcement and recognize the efforts your child is putting in. If they make any progress, applaud them for their hard work and dedication. Encouragement cannot be vague but must be descriptive so that your child knows exactly which values you hold in high esteem. Encourage them to persist with things that they have failed at. This is one of the best methods for positively motivating young children.

6. Appreciation

Appreciate any efforts your child makes, such as helping with dinner or cleaning up his room without being told. Do not make this a teaching moment, but just enjoy the fact that your child has done something that they should be proud of. Children need to learn how to pat themselves on the back and they will learn this from you.

Parents clapping for child

7. Choices and Their Consequences

It is very important that you teach your child that the choices they make will have consequences and they will have to learn to deal with them. Give your child decision making responsibilities such as choosing which toy to play with or choosing what dress to wear. Older children can be given the choice of choosing an activity that they have to stick with and learn the activity to the best of their abilities.

8. Don’t Nag

You might think that you are just motivating a lazy child, but being pushy will only demotivate your child. Nagging could also just make your child rebellious and do the opposite of what you want.

9. Embracing Flaws

Teaching your child that everyone comes with flaws, including you, is an important lesson. Kids should be taught that flaws are a part of life and they shouldn’t come in the way of finding success or happiness. If your child is conscious of how she looks but loves the water, then encourage them to try swimming and take her shopping to find a swimsuit that she will be comfortable in.

10. Lead by Example

One of the best ways to teach children is by leading by example. Children are great imitators and will pick up habits (both good and bad), words, life skills, and even expressions used by the adults around them. Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when talking to people around you as well as while talking to your children. It also shows them that you respect them. Sometimes you do not have to figure out what motivates your child to get her to imbibe some values. Your behaviour could be enough for her to learn.

11. Take Interest

Sometimes it seems that all you can do is get the kids ready, rush to work, come home to fix dinner, clean up and crash into bed. However, it is necessary that you take interest in the lives of your children. When you are interested, you children will believe that the things they are doing are worth something. You can ensure this by getting your children to help you fix dinner and then asking them about their day. Do not make this exercise about teaching them a life lesson. Just be interested and ask them questions about how they feel about the goings on in their lives.

Mother and daughter playing

Motivation and children can seem like a formidable task. However, the more you realize that when you engage your children with respect, the better the response will be from them. Use examples that they can relate to and do not preach. Avoid words like ‘should’ and ‘must’ and make it seem like they are making choices for themselves rather than choices being made for them.

Using the above tips should help you see a change in your child’s manners, behaviour and attitude towards their studies and other various activities. If they continue to remain lacklustre then it is best that you consult with the child’s school counsellor for further guidance.

Also Read: Cognitive Development in Children