Motivating the Unmotivated Child | El Paso, Texas!
As a children’s book author, a teacher who spends most of his time with children, and a literacy blogger who works towards bettering the life of our little humans, I get asked by many parents: “How do I motivate my child?” And this is the reason why I’m sitting here today, writing this article about children and motivation.
Children, in general, are impatient little creatures. But today’s children are even more impatient, living in an era of high technology, they expect everything to happen quickly, which is one of the reasons they lose motivation easily. They want, and demand their rewards right now, and if they don’t get them, they’ll just end up giving up, since for them, it doesn’t get them anywhere. Sometimes though, it’s not just the fault of the child. Parents also have their part of responsibility, but they can make it easier for the whole family if they follow some easy tips (that, of course, require patience).
Lead by example:
I know, I have written about this many times in the past. But it is good to remember that children always mimic their parents. So, if your children are unmotivated, it might be because they see you unmotivated. If you come home and complain about how you hate your job, how you want to quit but can’t, and that you are always just waiting for the weekend, they will mirror your behavior and start thinking the same about school. I will never stress that enough, lead by example. I have so many children at school who want to be “like mommy and daddy”, so be sure to be the greatest role model for them, and stay motivated in their presence. Do it for yourself AND for them. I promise the end result will be one you will be proud of.
Give your children the freedom to learn:
And most importantly, to accept the consequences of their actions. That way, your child will be motivated to do their homework, or clean their room. Doing so will ensure they will not put themselves in a predicament they're not too happy with. This will not only help them stay motivated, but also teach them the value of being a responsible person and accepting the consequences of their actions.
Make it fun for them:
Does your child rather spend time in front of their computer than with you? Make it worth their time! Offer them something more interesting than what they can find on the internet. Have family game nights, cook together, create stories, paint, or even garden together. Find an activity that will motivate your little one to forget their computer exists. (Okay, I’ll admit. This one is impossible.) Mom and Dad, you’re superheroes, remember? I’m sure you can distract them for a little while and make them want to spend some quality time with their cool parents.
Create a reward system:
Let’s just say your child isn’t that much of a reader. “Impossible, Mr. Rueda! Our children love to read!” Of course they do! But let’s pretend for a brief moment that picking up a book isn’t one of their favorite things to do. Did you know children don’t read because it doesn’t feel rewarding to them? Can you believe that?! Hello! Reading gives muscle to your memory, keeps your brain young, melts away stress, expands vocabulary, improves empathy, encourages life goals… I could go on and on. Except for those who have discovered the magic of reading since an early age, most kids would rather play video games. So, be smarter than them, and start a reward system. For every book they read, they get more pocket money, a new toy, or an extra hour of video games. THE BIGGER THE BOOK, THE BIGGER THE REWARD. Let them choose their own books (most of the time), they’ll enjoy it more, and that’s what you really want them to do. Soon enough, they will be reading books not because you told them to or because they want the reward, but simply because they learnt to enjoy the beauty of books!