There are two main things that affect a child’s growth and development: one is nature, and the other is nurturing. Personality refers to what the child is born with. Their genes and nurture are the type of environment they grow up in. Once the child is born, the genetic composition of the child has already been set, and there’s nothing much we can do but the nurture and environment we provide our child can make all the difference.
Children are naturally curious and engage in activities that interest them for extended periods. They don’t need anyone to tell them to do things, just time and space. However, as they grow up, their activities change from what they want to do to what they need to or have to do. If they like the action, that’s great, but if they don’t, parents need to find ways to get them to do the task. They need to encourage and motivate the child. Know more about the best positive parenting tips.
What is Motivation?
Quite put, motivation is the driving force for our actions. It is the reason why we do certain things. There are two types of motivations in children-
● Intrinsic Motivation – This refers to the reason that comes from within. You do the activity because you enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction from engaging and completing the training, like constructing a painting or solving a puzzle.
● Extrinsic Motivation – Refers to the inspiration you get from outside sources, like winning a trophy, getting higher grades, getting paid to do a job, and so on. The focus is that the activity or task is done not because you like it but what you get after it.
The child’s motivation in the younger days is intrinsic primarily in nature, children love to explore new things around them, and that’s how they learn. They are free to explore and know what they like. However, as they grow older, the rules change, especially when they start going to primary school and are expected to learn what is taught and do homework. They are no longer free to do as they please, now they have to do what’s told to them, and that’s when the intrinsic motivation reduces and extrinsic motivation comes in. It’s not one or the other that works better. It all depends on the interest of the child.
Things to Keep in Mind When Trying to Encourage and Motivate Your Child
1. Re-Examine Rewards
Sometimes, if the child is intrinsically motivated, it is better not to offer external tips. At times this act itself may hamper the child’s intrinsic motivation. E.g., if your child enjoys playing with blocks and building unique structures, then join in the child’s excitement, refrain from offering them a reward or prize, or else the next time, they will expect the same, and if the tips stop, they may lose interest in the activity.
There are circumstances where extrinsic motivation doesn’t work, no matter how much we try. For this, we must find a way to get the child to be intrinsically motivated. E.g., doing math homework, if the child has yet to understand the concept, they will find it challenging, and no matter what is offered to them, they will not want to do it. Instead, if we reteach the child the concept and maybe a few shortcuts, who knows, they may start enjoying the homework.
2. Converse with Your Child
Having an open conversation with your child builds trust, which will help you in your child’s motivation. Once you know why your child likes doing an activity or doesn’t like doing a task, you can provide the necessary support to motivate them. E.g., if your child is given tasks like doing homework.
If they don’t feel like doing it, talk to them. It could simply be because they are mentally tired. As motivation for your child, give them the option of going out to play and then doing their homework later. Or if they are in a bad mood to practice the piano, then offer them a snack first. Often children are angry or cranky and don’t feel like doing things if they are hungry. Know more about the joy of giving.
3. Accept their Differences
Not all children are the same. Even among siblings, there are differences. We, as parents, should refrain from using one child as an example of a child’s motivation technique to motivate another. Constant comparison or even setting high standards for your little one may take away their joy in doing the task. So instead of focusing on the mess created when building a structure out of blocks, share their excitement and talk about what they have made and then gently encourage them to put their blocks away while pointing out that they can keep it ready to build something new the next day.
4. Remember the Child’s Age and Abilities
Each child is unique. While one may be super organized but hate sports, another may be very good at sports but not like studying, yet another may be good at art and crafts but may not like mixing with other children. Comparing children to each other is something we need to refrain from. Just because one child can play the piano well or another can swim, we cannot expect our child to do the same. Those children may naturally be inclined in those areas or have even undergone some training.
Comparison is a great de-motivator. To help with your kid’s motivation, focus on how well they and they speak or take pride in the number of details or how accurate their art or craft activity is. Praise their efforts, tell them how good they are, and then encourage them to try something new. Age and abilities should be considered before setting up expectations. After all, it’s not fair to expect our 4yr old to swim 50mts, or to do perfect flips in gymnastics. Know more about the best age to join preschool.
5. Appreciate the Effort, Not the Result
Not everyone experiences success the first time, and for many, it takes multiple tries. While success is a great motivator, failure can significantly reduce motivation levels. So to encourage and motivate your child, focus on the effort, and always praise your child for trying. Kids want to please their parents, so if you show that you are okay, even if they fail, they will not hesitate to try again. Parental appreciation is a good step toward Child motivation.
6. Be a Good Role Model
Leading by example is an excellent tip to follow when looking for ways to motivate kids, as children learn quickly by observing. If they see you eating all your vegetables without a fuss, they will too. If they see you trying to do something repeatedly until you’re satisfied and happy, it will motivate your child to stick to their task till they get it right, and that failure is part of the process. Saying you’ll do something in 20 minutes or after a particular TV show episode and not doing it will teach them to do the same. Having two separate rules -one for the adults and one for the children will only work for some young children as it needs to be clarified for them.
7. Keep the Tasks Simple and Goals Attainable
“Let’s Start Diwali Preparations” this statement encompasses many things from cleaning and decorating the house, making sweets, shopping, buying new clothes and gifts, and even menu planning for when guests come over to name a few, even for us adults this whole task is daunting. So keeping this in mind, when we tell our children to go and clean their room, they will feel overwhelmed and give up even before they begin. To keep your child motivated, break up the task into smaller ones. They can start by only putting away their toys and neatening their beds. They take a break, have a snack, and then neatly put away their clothes. They get a break again, go out to play, and finally put away their books and stationery after having their bath and before dinner. That way, they go to bed at night and their room is neat and clean. The children have a feeling of accomplishment as each task is completed. They stay calm and focused as each is attainable and done quickly. Know more about the importance of early-year child education.
Once you’ve got the hang of ‘How to motivate your child,’ as a parent, it is necessary to keep the flames of motivation going and offer help and guidance to keep the cause levels up.
Here 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Child’s Motivations Level Stays High
1. Set Attainable Goals
Once your child knows what is expected of them, they are more likely to do their tasks. The goals should be long-term and short-term as well. e.g., you want them to be a good swimmer, but this week you want them to get into the swimming pool without crying, then you want them to jump into the water and float freely, follow the coach’s instructions, and so on. Making sure each goal is attainable is sure to keep your child motivated.
2. Celebrate Every Accomplishment
Every step of the way, and acknowledge and praise your child’s achievements. Hugs, kisses, high fives, and even an occasional treat or reward for the more difficult tasks will motivate your child.
3. Make Things Competitive
Set a timer and encourage your kid to beat the clock, see how fast they can pick up their toys, or race ‘dada’ in putting their clothes away. Make the focus of the competition about strength and positivity and on playing a “good game.”
4. Be Their Cheerleader
Children love to please their parents, and when parents are around to cheer them on, the child knows you are on their side, which acts as a motivator too.
5. Show Interest
When you take the time to learn, understand and talk about your child’s interests, you are more aware of how they think and will be able to give them the support they need and not what you think they might need.
6. Discover Their Passion
Embark on a journey of self-discovery where you have open talks with your child and explore what they are passionate about, try out a few different things, and discover new passions along the way.
7. Stay Optimistic
Having a positive and encouraging approach towards your child, especially when they fail, makes them feel that you believe in them and are on their side. While praising their efforts, you can gently coach them on what they could have done differently.
8. Peer Pressure
While we strongly dissuade you from comparing children, a little healthy competition among peers could be beneficial. You can motivate your child to overtake another child in a race so that they can win the trophy. However, you need to pull back if you notice signs of stress.
9. Have A Plan
Sit with your child and devise a program, set attainable goals, and show them a step-by-step approach to how they will succeed. E.g., doing 30 minutes of math daily would mean that in 1 week, they could finish the entire chapter, and in 2 weeks 2 chapters; then, if they are on track, they would have time to revise and practice before the exams, which would give them better marks in the end.
10. Get Excited
Show some excitement in the activities, ambitions, or goals your child would like to indulge in. Your positivity and faith in them are excellent ways to motivate your kid. Know more about the best amazing preschool activities.
A Different Perspective on Success and Motivation
We all want our children to be successful and to stay motivated, but it is more complex than we’d like it to be. Firstly it’s not only the cognitive skills that ensure success but also persistence, self-control, optimism, curiosity, and hard work. Bonding and communicating with your child enables you to understand them better, and thereby you can provide the necessary support they need. It’s not only essential to develop your mathematical or language skills to ensure success. Take the time to create your child’s character and personality. Only some people are destined to be a scientist or an orator. The most critical aspect of success is failure. Children need to learn how to handle failure, that failure is a stepping stone to winning, and that failing in something is not the end. It is a learning opportunity to redo or correct what may have gone wrong and try again.
We at EuroKids understand the necessity of keeping kids motivated and their interests intact. The activities designed show that the children’s intrinsic motivation is kept alive. The adults are the various centers trained to guide and provide assistance to give your child every chance to succeed, and even if they don’t, the healthy environment at the center ensures that the child will want to try again.
Visit a center near you and see what a healthy environment that fosters motivation looks like.