We all know the feeling: There’s something we need to do, we know we should be doing it, we’re aware we should be getting to it — yet somehow we wind up spending more hours than we should just putting it off instead.
We all find ourselves lacking motivation at some point, and it can be a real struggle to overcome.
The same is true for kids — in fact, it can be even more challenging to deal with for children!
As kids, it can be hard for them to find their motivation, and it’s up to Moms and Dads to help their offspring become motivated.
But finding what motivates your child can also be a struggle on its own.
Kids need motivation to be able to start and accomplish their tasks successfully and to reach their goals.
As a parent, you need to be able to motivate your child.
A lack of motivation can follow kids as they grow up, so it’s important that parents get to the heart of what motivates your child so that motivation can be instilled in them all the way to adulthood.
When Kids Are Unmotivated
Is my child unmotivated? These are some behavioral signs of unmotivated kids:
- Your child would rather do things that are easy or don’t require a lot of effort
- There are many instances where he/she does not stick to a task until completion
- He/she rarely takes the initiative and when they do something, it’s often half-hearted or little effort is exerted
- Your child tends to place blame on other factors when it comes to his lackluster performance
- He/she seems to care little about school or other activities and would opt just to play video games or such
- Your child has low self-esteem and tends to find tasks unimportant
- You find yourself struggling and repeating instructions when trying to engage your child in a task
Why Kids Are Unmotivated
Why is my child unmotivated? Here are factors that can contribute to a lack of motivation in kids:
- Has trouble focusing
- Is scared of failing
- Has low self-confidence
- Equipped with sub-par organization skills
- Struggles with comprehension
Being aware of these things can help you to guide your child into becoming more motivated.
Remember, the goal is to motivate your child and to help them in a positive way to build self-motivation, and not fall into the habit of “forcing” them to become better.
Negative reinforcement may lead to kids growing even more frustrated and overwhelmed – and thus affect their motivation.
What Makes Kids Motivated
What can help my child become motivated? There are two main types of motivation: EXTRINSIC and INTRINSIC.
Extrinsic motivation helps to condition kids to act and behave the way we want them to.
External incentives can get them to engage in a particular task or activity by providing a reward or helping them get out of a punishment.
This is helpful and effective when you want your children to learn a new skill or do something he lacks interest in or start an activity he may be struggling with initially.
However, keep in mind that external motivators can make kids dependent, and when the incentive is gone, so might their motivated behavior.
Intrinsic motivation helps kids to find motivation within themselves and not from external incentives or factors.
Your child will learn to do something by themselves and for themselves without the expectation of getting anything “in return”.
Kids will engage in a task or activity simply because of their own will — because they want to.
Intrinsic motivation is key to your child finding purpose, growth, and motivation.
Unlike extrinsic motivation, this one leads to self-motivation, which is more lasting.
The Key To Motivating Kids
How can I help motivate my child?
The answer to this is actually very simple.
Take away the rewards and the external incentives and all that, and at the very heart of it all is this:
To truly know what motivates your child, get to know them and understand how they feel, what they want, and who they are.
Kids are very different than grown-ups, and so are their motivations.
Finding out what their interests, passions, and strengths are, as well as how they think, can help you to find the right approach to best help motivate your child.
11 Ways To Motivate Your Child
We’ve listed down some key tips for Moms and Dads to help you be able to instill motivation in your kids!
1. Cultivate a fun, positive learning experience
The first thing to remember is that you have to make the experience engaging and full of positivity.
It will be more enticing to kids, and they’ll feel good about it instead of dreading it.
Draft something that’s in tune to what your child likes, or let them watch videos of other kids having fun with the task. This will motivate them to try it out too!
But keep in mind that making them aware of other children having fun and excelling doesn’t mean comparing your child to them — that’s something you should avoid, because that can lead to demotivation instead.
2. Become more involved in your kids’ lives
Your child needs to feel assured that you care very much about every little corner of their world.
Know their thoughts, their dreams, fears, interests.
Find out what they want to do, what they are passionate about.
Having this assurance gives them the confidence to try new things.
If they feel that you are with them every step of the way, then they will become more encouraged to step out of their comfort zones.
And understanding their interests and learning their passions can also guide you in finding wats to incorporate these into the tasks and activities they will be doing, which will make them more excited as well.
3. Nurture their strengths and encourage their creativity
Kids are full of many budding strengths, all waiting to be nurtured.
Discover their strengths along with them, and let these bloom.
Recognize and highlight these strengths, as this will help them be more self-assured.
Kids are also full to the brim with ideas! Listen to these ideas, let their creativity come out and grow.
If they know that you believe in their ideas and dreams, they will know you believe in them, too. And that will give them the courage to spread their wings and explore new opportunities.
4. Make It competitive!
As we grew up, we learned that not all competition is bad — in fact, in can be a good thing!
Now it’s time to teach that to our kids as well.
A good, fun way to encourage your kids to engage in an activity is to turn it into a contest or competition.
Set up tally sheets, progress charts, use a timer, employ the use of sticker or stamp collection.
It’s a natural instinct to want to win in any competition — your child will be motivated by that instinct, and they’ll have tons of fun too!
PS – Don’t turn the competition into a comparison though!
5. Talk it out
We’ve heard it many, many times, whether at work or at school back in the day or even in our families and relationships: Communication is key. Encourage sincere and open communication between you and your kids.
They may get frustrated or tired or stressed as they try to work on their tasks. Talk it out with them.
Be there to listen to their struggles, ask them to teach you what they learned, and discuss what they’re finding hard to accomplish.
The more you talk about it, the more they’ll see past the difficulties and find out what they love about what they are doing.
6. Let them know that mistakes are okay
Ah, failure. It’s something that can affect adults deeply. Even more so kids, who are less equipped to handle the idea of failing.
Some kids are so afraid to fail that they won’t even embark on a new activity unless they know perfectly well how to do it — especially if they’ve experienced feeling shamed for not being successful at something.
Reassure your child that mistakes are okay; they’re a normal part of the process. Show them that mistakes don’t need to be feared.
Teach them that these are all stepping stones to a successful venture — and that you’re right there with them on their journey to success, mistakes and all.
Let them know that flaws are okay, and that everyone has them.
Encourage them to embrace these flaws and don’t point them out; rather, help them to turn these shortcomings into something beneficial for them.
7. Appreciate and celebrate
Simply getting started, and trying, are already milestones!
Making an effort is a big thing and one that you should always remember to appreciate.
Whether they’ve begun on their art project or set the table by themselves or got ready for bed, your children deserve appreciation.
They need to feel that you see and appreciate what they do.
Even the smallest gesture of appreciation will go a long way in motivating your children. And another boost is to celebrate their achievements, the big ones and the little ones.
Show them how proud you are of them, and that their accomplishments deserve to be celebrated.
Feeling appreciated and seeing what can happen with a good attitude and hard work will drive them to become more motivated.
8. Let them take the lead
As parents, our instinct is to take control, because we believe we know what’s best for our kids.
But a great way to make them more motivated is actually to let them have a little bit of that control.
Research has said that a big part of why parents and teachers experience difficulty in motivating children is because of the desire to direct and dictate all that they do.
The more your child feels they have no part in the decision-making for their lives, the less they feel like sticking to what’s been decided.
Let them have some control. Allow them to have choices.
Let them choose what snack they want, or what homework they want to do first.
It will make them feel like it’s their choice to do the task, and they will respond with more motivation.
A healthy self-image is what it’s all about
If a child knows in his heart that he is worth a lot and that he is somebody who will make a difference and do great things, then he will be more on the path to achieving their dreams and goals.
Tell them how much you believe in them. Show them that they can accomplish so many amazing things.
Of course, raising expectations too high is to be avoided, but let them know that they can do so much if they tap into their potential.
Empower your child with a healthy self-image and confidence — these are big factors in motivating a person to aim higher and reach farther.
9. Be encouraging and supportive
When you see that your children lack in motivation, it can feel very frustrating. That’s totally normal.
And being clueless about how to help them become more motivated can feel even more frustrating. That’s totally normal, too.
But this is also when they need you the most to be encouraging and supportive.
Show them that you are always there to encourage them and support them.
When they experience a setback, tell them all the good things they did.
Say it. Positive reinforcement uplifts the spirit and lets them know that you recognize their progress and efforts.
This will motivate them to keep on going, to pick themselves up and forge onward!
10. Walk the talk
At the end of the day, kids draw inspiration and strength from their parents. They look up to you the most. They think the world of you.
So the best way to help your children become more motivated is to show them how you yourselves are becoming more motivated.
Change your way of thinking, make tweaks in your day to day, embrace change when needed — when your kids see what you are doing and see the results, they will be inspired to be more motivated and positive too.
Help them to chase their dreams and reach their goals by chasing your dreams and reaching your goals
11. Lead by example, and your children are more likely to follow.
Motivation can be very elusive and very difficult to attain.
Don’t forget that it can be a struggle for everyone — most especially to young minds who need all the guidance they can get.
Kids will be kids, and it won’t always be easy.
But with commitment, perspective, motivation (of course!) and heart, you’ll be able to help your kids grow into motivated, confident individuals.
You’ve got this!
Hey there, Martha here, a full-time mom of two, currently trying to bring a small impact in everyone’s life whom I can reach through The Queen Momma. I usually write on topics related to parenting, pregnancy and motherhood. Having gone through a few rocky relationships myself, I consider myself somewhat of an “expert” on topics related to dating and relationships.
I formerly worked at Special Needs Network Inc and BrightStar Care of Beverly Hills as a head manager. I have a passion for assisting organizations and individuals in achieving their objectives and have had the opportunity to do so throughout my professional career. At present, writing for The Queen Momma is a great addition to my professional career.