How to motivate children

I think most parents agree that the cause of their children’s underachievement in school is often simply a lack of motivation. What can parents do to motivate their children?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

I like this quote and believe that as human beings, we should try our best to do our best. I also want to pass this value to my children. So how do parents motivate their children?

How to motivate children: Eight ways to motivate children

I think most parents agree that the cause of their children’s underachievement in school is often a lack of motivation. What can parents do to motivate their children? Here are some ideas Michigan State University Extension to keep your children motivated:

1. Be your children’s supporter

Teenagers are different from younger kids. A teenager wants to be treated like an adult. I think respecting your teenager is the key to building a trusting relationship between parents and teens. Parents should give teenagers as much support as possible, not by controlling, but by guiding.

2. Expose your teenager to various ideas and areas

Sometimes a teenager lacks motivation because he or she hasn’t yet been exposed to what might be a life passion. Look for different programs, give your teen a chance to try them, and keep an open mind to help your teen to find his or her interests and passions.

3. Help your teenager make connection between schoolwork and their interests

Sometimes children lack motivation because they do not see a connection between the work they are being asked to do and their interests and goals. A teenager who wants to be a doctor should know that math and science is important in those jobs. Parents may give examples how these courses help.

4. Teach your teenager responsibility

Parents should encourage teenagers to understand that freedom and power brings responsibilities. If your teen wants to make independent decisions, then he or she will have to take responsibility for the resulting consequences of the decisions.

5. Guide your teenager to find their goals

Individuals who have goals are highly motivated because they know what they want and work towards the goals. For most teenagers, they do not know what they want to be yet; they are exploring and trying to find their values, beliefs and their future paths. They are usually driven by the sheer joy of participating in something they love now, and do not consider long term goals. Parents should talk to teens about things they enjoy right now and guide them to find what they believe about their life and set up appropriate goals that are associated with their passions.

6. Set high expectations

High standards lead to high performance. If parents set clear goals and expectations for their children and support them to achieve their goals, the children become successful. This success motivates children to feel fulfillment and do even better.

7. Use short term goals and rewards

Sometimes a child gets overwhelmed by a large task and gives up before he or she even begins. Help your child separate the task into a series of smaller tasks. Make each small task a goal and try to setting an age-appropriate reward for that goal.

8. Help your teenager learn to manage time

When they start school, most children have few problems keeping up with school work because they learn quickly and easily, so they don’t get the chance to learn to manage their time in order to get work done. After they become teenagers, they face more challenging tasks, and they may feel overwhelmed by the work they need to complete, and do not know how to set time aside to complete their tasks. Teaching your teenager how to create and use a time-management schedule is helpful.

For more information about motivating children and other parenting topics check out a Nurturing Families Program in your area.

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