“Please pick up your trash,” I ask my child for what feels like the five thousandth time. I don’t ask as nicely this time.
He sighs, and we know that asking again is a burden to both of us. We go round and round in this way on everything from trash to cooking to homework.
The same thing happens with his sister. It’s exhausting.
How to Motivate Your Child
Every parent knows that when a child is unmotivated, accomplishing anything is extremely difficult.
And this cycle with my kids has caused me to pause to consider if there are ways to motivate and make both of our lives a little easier. There has to be a better way!
It turns out there is. And I’ve been testing different ways to motivate my kids in my own home. Here’s what has worked for us:
First and foremost, if a child doesn’t know what’s expected, then the chance of accomplishing that task correctly is almost zero.
So, before motivating in other ways, make sure that what kids need to do is clear, and if needed, set out in step by step instructions. For example, we now have a bathroom cleaning checklist and a clear after-school routine for homework.
Have a Reward
Next, perhaps an incentive would be helpful. I’ve come to realize that my son is EXTREMELY motivated by screen time. Therefore, the odds of getting him motivated go WAY up if he can have a few extra minutes at a later date.
See this big list of rewards for kids for other fun and easy ways to motivate! “Dinner of choice” is another big hit in our home as a reward.
Boosting their internal motivation is always a big win.
So, find a way for kids to enjoy the activity, for the sake of the activity itself. For example, if your child hates running, no amount of rewards will ever compensate for those feelings.
Instead, steer them towards their interests (maybe dancing or a sport) and help them find ways to enjoy even tasks that are mundane. Another way to inspire them is to help them visualize the end result, the bigger picture, or how they’ll feel when they’ve accomplished the task.
Encourage a Growth Mindset
Next, this one takes time, but cultivating the right mindset is a valuable, lifelong skill.
So, pique their curiosity, model trying new things yourself, and instill in kids the value of learning from everything.
Get out of your comfort zone together as a family!
See HERE for help inspiring a growth mindset with your family
“All things are difficult before they are easy.”Thomas Fuller
Help kids feel they are in control of their lives by giving good options.
Perhaps kids can pick between two different times to do their homework, two vegetables to eat, two different chores, or two different books to read.
Giving autonomy (within reason) will not only motivate kids, but it will help them find new interests and strengths.
Decide on a Consequence
Finally, sometimes a consequence is necessary.
Obviously, natural consequences are best. For example, if your child doesn’t do her homework, it’s ok for her to have to stay after school.
Mistakes are going to be made, and kids are going to test the waters. It’s part of growing up (and living in general). If consequences are in place, it will help them stay on the right path.
I hope these tips help with your children as much as they have with mine. In particular, giving my son choices and using a few external rewards that interest him have made a big difference in his motivation level at home.
“When you know better, you do better.”Maya Angelou