- Involve Your Child
No-one knows your child better than they know themselves and they can tell you what’s going to keep them motivated. Use this and involve them. Give them “ownership” of what they are learning, how they are to be rewarded and what consequences they face and they’ll be much more inclined to co-operate. We use our family meetings to do this and it works great.
- Keep it Age Appropriate
A baby’s not going to be motivated by pocket money but a word of encouragement or smile from Mum will work wonders when teaching them to put away. Likewise, a toddler has no concept of the value of money but a star on a chart that shows progress towards a treat like a trip to the swimming pool or getting ice cream works great. And a chart of activities to complete to earn pocket-money maybe just the ticket for an older child. Choose rewards that are age appropriate.
- Keep the Goals Achievable
There’s nothing more likely to demotivate than constant failure. Keep the goals you agree on challenging but achievable. Their goals need to help them grow as individuals by developing their essential life skills in a way that keeps them feeling motivated and good about themselves.
- Be Flexible
Remember that their interests will change rapidly. Buzz Light Year might have motivated “little Johnny” last month but this month it’s Flash McQueen. Keep it flexible and change rewards and consequences as your child changes and develops.
- Be Ready With Appropriate Consequences
Kids like to know where they stand so give them the rewards when they achieve what’s been agreed to and DON’T HOLD BACK the consequences when they don’t. Our internal motivation comes from a desire not only to win the reward but also avoid the negative consequences. It’s important that your child experiences both if they are truly to learn. Agree appropriate consequences for every goal on their list at the outset then everyone knows what the outcome will be for non-compliance.
- Love Them Even When They Don’t Get It Right
Even if our children don’t do what is expected of them hand out the consequences with as much love and support as you give the praise. It’s difficult not to lose your patience but it’s important that children learn they’ll still be loved by you even if they fail. They need to know and have the confidence that you love them no matter what they do. Your love must be unconditional. I can’t rave enough about the book “Unconditional Love” by Alfie Kohn here if you want to delve into this subject a little more deeply. It’s an eye-opener that sometimes makes for an uncomfortable read but it’s well worth it.
Have you got any handy advice on how you keep yourself or your children motivated? Leave a comment before or drop us an email.