Motivating Your Child

Whether it’s getting your child to prepare for school on time, or reminding your child to clean their room, it can be a struggle as a parent to find ways of motivating an unmotivated child. In ideal world, of course, children will be self-motivated to take care of their responsibilities, but as all parents know, this can be a far cry from reality at times.

So how do you raise a self-motivated child? Here are a few strategies you can practice with your children to start developing their sense of internal motivation:

  1. Nagging is Only a Temporary Solution

Yes, anxiously reminding your children of their responsibilities may get them to begrudgingly complete their work on a singular basis, but it does nothing to help your child develop their own motivation. When you persistently remind your children to complete their work, it only teaches them to either appease or resist you. By merely reacting to your commands, children don’t have the opportunity to discover their own reasons for completing a task. 

  1. Model Inspiring Behavior

Since you cannot force your child to be motivated, the best thing you can do is model what motivation looks like to your child through your own behaviors and patterns. Avoid trying to control your child. Instead, focus on inspiring them through your own actions. Sometimes it can help to narrate this process out loud in front of your child so that they understand why you are taking action. For example, “I’m putting away the dishes now so that I’ll have time to watch TV tonight.” By revealing your own motivations, children will be more inclined to discover their own. 

  1. Let Your Child Experience the Rewards and Consequences of Decisions

Give your child the opportunity to make choices in life, and do not shield them from the rewards or the consequences. By learning that their decisions directly impact their lives, they are more like to develop intrinsic motivation. It may produce anxiety to let your child make a decision that will result in negative consequences, but the experience will be a powerful motivator to your child.

  1. Think About Your Child as an Individual

We are all human, driven by different wants, needs, and desires. Think about what will motivate your child, and most importantly, listen, even if you disagree. 

By giving your child the opportunity to develop self-inspired motivation, they will become more driven, goal-oriented individuals. Their source of motivation will determine their satisfaction and success in every area of their lives, and the sooner they can discover it, the more likely they will be to have a sense of meaning and fulfillment as individuals.