What is the first thing that your kids do when they wake up in the morning? Do they tell you about their plans for the day? Are they excited to meet their friends at school? Do they ask you what’s for breakfast and lunch? Or do they quietly lie on the bed, blankly staring at the ceiling and create a ruckus when you rush them to school because they’re reluctant? What do you think is their problem? Could it be that your child lacks motivation?
It’s a common misconception that motivation is for adults. Children too, need positive reinforcement to bounce off the walls. Without this, they’re like sheep lost in the fields. On the contrary, motivated children believe they’re stronger, braver and smarter than before — this thought constantly drives them towards greater advantages in life.
Why Do We Say That Highly Motivated Kids Have A Greater AdvantageIn Life?
· Children who’re motivated know what they want in life, and find ways to achieve it.
· They don’t quit but fearlessly chase their dreams and objectives.
· They don’t leave things up to chance but strategically plan their goals to attain efficiency.
· They try learning from different sources in multiple ways — books, videos, observations, self-reflection, everything!
· Motivated kids don’t believe in limitations, which is why they constantly push themselves to work outside their comfort zone.
· Rather than fretting on problems, they work on their solutions.
· They accept their mistakes, learn from them and move on to the next task on their to-do list.
· They’re grateful. This feeling keeps them grounded and constantly reminds them of the greater purpose they need to fulfill.
When kids feel inspired, self-awareness, self-regulation, and intrinsic motivation come naturally to them. Such kids inspire themselves to learn in the face of difficulties, in spaces outside of the familiar home or school environment because learning is fun.
Since inspiration directly correlates to a child’s performance, we often rely on extrinsic motivation, like rewards and recognition, to foster a love for lifelong learning. However, it doesn’t really work in the long run. In fact, relying too much on external encouragement motivates kids who were initially instinctively motivated to try new things out of curiosity.
The secret of success depends on how we motivate children, and whether our words and actions can drive them to generate, sustain and regulate their activities to reach a specified goal.
How To Motivate Children To Learn
· Reminding them of the power of belief
At times, little ones don’t really lack motivation. Rather, they have a ‘limited’ belief of what’s achievable. Conditioning them to question and analyze their belief system is essential to make things possible. With simple questions, little efforts and small talks, we create positive moments for our kids, which build the self-confidence for task completion. When kids start to believe they’re competent, they’re more likely to enjoy the process of learning and eventually get better at it.
· Finding values that they can relate to
When kids figure out what’s important to them, it gets easier to connect a task back to their values and belief system. The simplest values little ones can relate to are — empathy, care, respect, etc., or it could be something else that your child shows.
Putting a name to their feelings and values will help children recognize them better. For instance, when we say, “It was kind of you to help your friend solve the problem sum,” he/she learns that we value their responsiveness.
Encouraging them to talk about their values and appreciating positive efforts builds a growth mindset in children. This motivates them to do better in the future.
· Helping them find the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of everything
If your child plays football simply because they like it outdoors, or because their friends play it too, it’s probably not enough to keep them going when it gets tough. However, knowing how it can benefit you in the long run (e.g., physical conditioning and character building) will give them the strength to keep practicing it, even if gets difficult, as they have the long-term benefits in mind.
· Staying excited about goals and ambitions
Excitement and optimism keep the adrenaline running. Ultimately, it probes kids to push their buttons and continue with their hard work. Since children tend to get easily bored, we’ve to find new ways to stimulate them. Engaging them in fun games and activities makes the process more enjoyable. The end result is kids are excited about their learning outcomes and strive to learn more.
Here, the key is to make them self-sufficient so they learn to motivate themselves.
· Being catalysts of growth
Just like a catalyst increases or decreases the rate of a chemical reaction, a motivator or critic can excite or drain a child’s positivity. We must strive to be a coach (i.e., positive catalyst) rather than being a critic. Micromanaging or criticizing their every step is detrimental to their self-esteem and internal motivation of children.
On the other hand, giving constructive feedback on their efforts helps little ones recognize skills to build self-confidence which is important to maintain this motivation.