How To Motivate Your Child To Learn

15 October 2016

It’s a challenge persuading your children do things they don’t want to do, but the situation can be even more complicated when it comes to convincing children to stop doing those things we don’t want them to do. All parents wonder if there is a secret to making children behave the way we want them to.

children's motivation

Rewarding your child as he learns new skills often produces quick results. Rewards motivate anyone, even adults. However we must take care that the encouraged behavior does not become conditional on the external reward. There are many adults who work only to get paid, and experience no motivation beyond the paycheck. They have no love for what they are doing and will often do only enough work to make sure they get their reward, while remaining disengaged and resentful through the process. This is not a healthy way for an adult to approach their daily life, and it is even more problematic if this is the way a child approaches learning.

Even if the desired behavior is something that your child enjoys doing, if you always offer a reward for it, your child may refuse to complete the task without the reward. Even worse, always offering rewards may inadvertently work to suppress the child’s passion, or internal motivation. That’s why even though rewards may bring about short term compliance with adult requests, they do not provide long term solutions or motivation to learn new skills. Children should experience satisfaction and pride in their own work. Children are usually plenty motivated just by seeing their own improving skills, and demonstrating for their parents and teachers all of the new things they have learned how to do.

It’s important to talk to children on an equal level, engaging in two way conversation that respects their thoughts, opinions, and contributions. This is a great way to understand what really interests and motivates your child. We have to respect the child’s point of view, especially when attempting to solve a problem.Whenever possible, work with your child to come up with a list of several possible solutions, and always give them a choice. If, for example, your son doesn’t want to attend his sport classes because he is tired after school, you could let him rest a bit and then go to a class a little later in the day. Talk with him, explain how rest is important for health, and remind him of all the reasons why he enjoys participating in sports. As always, the important thing is not to force a child to do something he really does not want to do, as this will only make him resent the entire activity.

We should avoid using words like “must” and “have to” when we talk to our children, but it’s still important to explain why we want them to participate in certain activities. You can explain that being responsible and helpful is part of being a member of the family, community, or team, and that other people are counting on your child’s contributions. It could help to give some personal examples as well. You could talk to your child about a time when you did something you didn’t want to do at first, but ended up being glad you did, and tell him about some of the things you’ve learned that were challenging.

Children, like adults, are people with their own personalities and desires. Just like us, they don’t enjoy feeling as though they have no choice or that their actions are being controlled. That’s why we have to give them freedom, autonomy, and choice. Allowing children to learn on their own terms will allow them to grow into creative, motivated, and well-rounded adults who can make their own responsible choices – certainly the goal for any parent!

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