As a parent, you want your kids to succeed in all areas of their lives. But sometimes, getting them to cooperate can be a challenge.
We may have all found ourselves resorting to nagging or bribing to get our kids to do their homework, brush their teeth, or eat their veggies. It’s a common challenge many parents face, and it’s understandable why we may need to do so.
However, there are better ways to motivate your kids that can lead to long-lasting results and a more positive relationship with your children.
In this article, we’ll provide tips and strategies to help you motivate your kids to cooperate and succeed in various aspects of their lives, including school, chores, and social situations.
What Type of Motivation Does Your Child Have?
Motivating your kids is important for their behavior and performance in different activities. There are two different types of motivation:
Intrinsic motivation is when someone is driven to engage in an activity because of the inherent satisfaction and enjoyment they receive from it. In other words, they find the activity inherently interesting, fulfilling, or enjoyable.
Examples of intrinsic motivation:
- Playing a musical instrument because they enjoy it.
- Engaging in a hobby like painting, drawing, or writing because it brings them joy.
- Participating in a sport or physical activity because it’s fun and fulfilling.
- Solving a puzzle or problem because it’s intellectually stimulating.
Extrinsic motivation refers to the drive to engage in an activity because of external rewards or pressures, like money, praise, grades, or other forms of external validation or coercion.
Examples of extrinsic motivation:
- Studying hard to get good grades in school to receive a scholarship to get into a good college.
- Finishing homework to be able to play computer games.
- Completing a task to receive recognition.
Both types of motivation can lead to similar behavior, but there are important differences between them in terms of the quality and sustainability.
It’s important to note that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can coexist in a single activity. For example, a student may study hard to get good grades (extrinsic motivation) because they want to pursue a career in a field they are passionate about (intrinsic motivation).
Understanding what motivates your child can help tailor your approach to encourage them to succeed.
5 Ways to Motivate Your Kids
The key to motivating your kids is to understand the two types of motivation and use that understanding to encourage them in a way that works for them.
Let’s dive into some strategies that can help you do just that.
Work on Challenging Yet Fun Activities
Encouraging kids to feel accomplished is a great way to inspire their motivation. This means finding challenging activities to keep them interested but not too complex that they become frustrated or anxious.
It’s important to strike a balance and find activities that are slightly more challenging than they’ve already mastered but still achievable with hard work and practice. By doing so, we can help kids develop a positive attitude toward their achievements and ultimately foster their intrinsic motivation.
One example of an activity that fits this description is Purple Ladybug’s SunGemmers Aquarium Design. It’s a fun arts and crafts project that allows kids to unleash their creativity without causing frustration or anxiety.
When parents use rewards to motivate their children, the positive effects are often short-lived. Even pleasurable activities can lose their appeal when external rewards are introduced.
Research has shown that offering rewards can lead to a dependence on the rewards and a decrease in intrinsic motivation. In other words, the behavior stops when the rewards stop.
Instead of relying on rewards, parents should encourage their children to find satisfaction in newly learned skills and personal achievements. This approach promotes long-term success and fosters a sense of happiness and inspiration along the way.
Setting goals is key to motivating kids and giving them something to work towards. Parents need to talk to their children about their hopes and dreams beyond academics and help them identify and set goals they are motivated to achieve.
However, the goals should be within the child’s sphere of interest and competence to prevent overwhelming them with disappointment.
Parents can talk to their children about what they need to do to achieve their goals and provide them with opportunities and resources to reach them. Starting with smaller, achievable goals can help build self-efficacy and develop other competencies.
According to Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” telling kids to do something like asking for a job or letters of recommendation won’t work. However, tasks become less demanding when they are part of a larger goal.
When parents participate in their child’s learning, it can make a big difference in how well they do in school.
This shows kids that learning is important and worth their time and effort. It can motivate them to be more involved in their activities and develop a love of learning that will help them. Plus, when the whole family gets involved, it can bring everyone closer together and create fun memories that will last a long time.
For example, Purple Ladybug’s Create Your Own Lip Balm is a great activity for parents and kids to do together. It’s a fun and creative way to spend quality time with each other while also learning about science and chemistry.
Make Failure a Learning Opportunity
As parents, it’s important to help our kids understand that failure is a normal part of life and not something to be afraid of.
Fear of failure can stop children from trying new things and pursuing their goals. Instead, parents can teach their kids how to use failure as a motivator by discussing when successful people have failed and how they overcame it.
Parents should avoid telling their children everything will work out if they try their best because it can create unrealistic expectations and more pressure. Instead, we can offer comfort by saying it’s okay to try their best, and that’s all that matters.
Parents play a crucial role in motivating children. By fostering intrinsic motivation, providing opportunities for learning and exploration, setting achievable goals, and normalizing failure, parents can help children develop a lifelong love of learning and a sense of purpose.
When our children feel empowered and motivated, they are more likely to take risks, overcome challenges, and ultimately achieve their goals.