Sometimes it can be a challenge encouraging children to complete schoolwork (or do other things!) but a child who is motivated is set for life. If your child has a positive attitude and works hard to achieve their dreams – that is a great start.
So how can we help a child to get motivated? This guide will show you.
You may hear your child say, ‘Why? What’s the point?’
It’s important for a child to be able to see why they must do a task – especially one they don’t expect to enjoy. If they can see the bigger picture, or know what the purpose is, it becomes easier to motivate them.
If they are reluctant to complete homework, investigate the reasons. Perhaps they are struggling or bored. Work on this with them. If they are younger, it might be a good idea to sit with them while they work.
Setting goals is a fundamental part of motivating your child. Help them to set realistic goals they can expect to achieve. They can have short term goals (over the next week, or term) or longer term goals (over the next year… or ten years).
Ask ‘what would you like to…
They might set a goal for each school subject, or one overall goal.
If their goals are huge – ‘be a millionaire’, or ‘go to Jupiter’ – don’t dismiss them out of hand. They might be achievable as future long-term goals, but they still need breaking down into small steps.
Action plan by asking these questions about their goal:
Having a goal is fine, but how do you make it so irresistible that it motivates them into action?
Ask them to see themselves having achieved their goal – or to draw a picture. Make the experience of having achieved their goal feel real. Make it multisensory – How will it feel? What will they hear? (What will people say?) What will they see? (How will people look? Smiling? Happy?).
This will help them to have clear focus and they are more likely to work hard if they have ‘felt’ the success of getting something they really want.
Children measure themselves against others’ and can easily feel negative about their own achievements. Raise your child to be positive and strong, and teach them that, if they don’t succeed, they can try again.
Lack of self-belief or fear of failure can all contribute towards children feeling unmotivated. The BBC website offers useful advice on helping children to try new things, through developing a growth mind-set.
Help them to constructively criticise themselves and identify where they need to improve, and how they could do it.
Teach children that change can happen and, through determination and work, goals can be met.
Rewards can be an incentive for children, but don’t bribe them with expensive items, or promises upfront. If you do reward them, let them select from a few options after the event. A sticker chart can be displayed in your home.
Some experts recommend that you praise effort, rather than achievement. Praise helps children feel good, but be realistic. If you give high praise to every single thing they do, your words will lose their value and have no effect.
Explain that you want them to try their best and, as long as they have done that, you will be proud of them.
Maintain a positive mental attitude with your child and inspire them whenever possible.
Encourage your child to pursue their dreams, and let them know that you are there for them if they fall or falter.
But don’t overdo it. Often, letting them be is better than being a helicopter or tiger parent.