Motivation and Children – Understand and Inspire
Educating children has to be a team effort between teachers and parents. For children to succeed in school and beyond, parents must work with their child, teaching them skills that are not a normal part of the school’s curriculum. One skill or characteristic that will help the learning process is motivation. Parents can help their child learn and retain more in school when they support the development of motivation.
How Parents Can Recognize Activities That Motivate Their Children
Children are born with a tremendous amount of motivation. Parents can help children remain motivated by paying attention to what activities their children are drawn to. Parents will recognize high motivation when the child persistently engages in an activity even when he or she only has moderate success.
Children who experience success with one challenge will be motivated to try another. Parents should also identify activities that the child engages in independently. A motivated child does not need an adult helping with the activity. He or she is happy to do it by himself or herself.
How Parents Can Inspire Motivation in Their Child
To inspire motivation, parents can engage the child in a variety of activities. Identify which of these activities generate genuine excitement. This excitement is what motivates them to want to learn more. It is telling the child, “I want to know more about …” or “I want to be better at ...” Expand on that excitement and encourage the child to follow this passion. Help the child define those important first steps.
The first step may very well be the hardest. The goal is to help him gain the optimism and courage to take a chance. As the child follows through with the first step, his desire to do more should grow. When children see that they can follow through on an action and have success with the small steps towards their goal, it fuels their motivation to learn more.
How Parents Can Help Their Child Remain Motivated
There are several things parents can do to motivate their kids.
- Parents should allow ample time when the child is playing to stay involved in the activity. Let the child finish without interruption and resist the urge to help. The uninterrupted activity will help the child gain the discipline to stay motivated, and work against discouragement.
- Allow the child to be independent and make choices whenever possible. Parents can guide their child’s activities while still giving him a range of options. This uninstructed time is essential to the child’s motivation and learning. Give the child direction but also the freedom to explore.
- Work on projects together and model motivation and persistence. Children pay attention to people they look up to. Model a positive attitude when faced with challenges.
- Be patient; frustration in a parent leads to the child’s frustration and consequently he may shut down to the new activity.
- Let the child evaluate his own accomplishments. Give him time to reflect and analyze his own behavior. Allow children to think independently about their success or future challenges.
Parents can shine a light on a new subject but must have patience to allow discovery by the child. Curiosity is a strong motivator; it will inspire a child to discover and work to understand new concepts. When children are engaged in something they enjoy they stay motivated and welcome challenges.