How to Motivate a Child

Good parenting implies harmonious parenting in which respect, love, and discipline resonate. When it comes to instilling good habits, the development of motivation, it is very difficult to choose effective tools, which would not have a negative impact on the relationship. When soft measures do not yield results, some parents resort to direct manipulation and coercion. Mistakes made before can always be corrected. This requires an awareness of how fragile the understanding between child and parent is. And also understand that your wisdom and patience can help pass a lot of difficulties. Motivation in general terms is a set of goals, attitudes, and aspirations that drive us to perform meaningful activities. Privately understood, it is interpreted depending on the nature and relevance of motives to the child. I suggest getting acquainted with the ways you can use to motivate your child and maintain sustained motivation.

How to Motivate a Child

Classification of motivation

To understand what kind of parenting tool will help achieve the goal, it is worth getting acquainted with the basic types of motivation. Each activity aims to stimulate a different kind of it.The nature of these actions is also determined by the focus of motives. I suggest you consider them:

  1. Intrinsic implies personal stable interests, motives for the activity performed. They are more difficult to develop than extrinsic motives, but they are what condition the long-term perspective of development and a high level of interest. Situations of lack of successful results are not able to affect intrinsic motivation much, because it comes from deeper personal motivations. Creative children, absorbed in the work they love, draw motivation from the very process of doing the work. This enthusiasm can be transferred to more practical activities, such as learning.

  2. External is due to the presence of stimulating factors from the environment. It is recognition, praise, encouragement, compliments. Its effect is unstable and short-lived. Difficulties, failures, fatigue, lack of recognition easily destroy extrinsic motivation. But it can be used as an effective tool to form the primary interest. So, after receiving a compliment on artistic talent, and then praise for a perfectly performed work, interest and excitement ignite. If after the first “push” does not develop intrinsic motivation, passion instantly extinguishes.

  3. Positive motivation encapsulates the idea in positive reinforcement of a situation of success. This includes praise, gifts, rewards that follow the performance of desirable actions. In general, it works effectively, with one exception. With ill-considered positive reinforcement can form an addiction to receiving approval, material goods. Without it, his activities are meaningless for him.

  4. Negative – these are censure, punishment, criticism, etc.d. It is a permissible educational tool as long as it does not cross over into the child’s personality. You can criticize in a way that does not hurt his feelings. Punish so that he does not feel like a talentless and outcast. It is important to understand that negative motivation reinforces a negative result. The right criticism encourages, harsh hurtful words build a wall between you and the child.

There are many other types of motivation, characterized as private: learning, cognitive, creative, etc. We won’t get too close to them. The following are ways to help motivate children in an age-appropriate way.

How to motivate young children (early, preschool, elementary school age)

Cognitive and social types predominate in the motivation of younger children. The opinion of their parents is especially relevant to them, because they use it as a basis for their ideas about themselves and their picture of the world as a whole. This then includes acceptance by other significant adult figures (caregivers, teachers). In the early grades, social motivations include building a social circle among peers. These facts can be used to effectively influence the motivation of a child. The following are parental actions that can influence the formation of their motives.

Believe in his success

Suppose a junior high school student is failing a school subject. Because of systematically experiencing a situation of failure, his motivation to learn in general decreases. It is important in cases like this that you believe he can do well. Based on your outwardly positive assessment of his abilities, the child will try harder and devote more time to the problem area. This will increase his performance – he will see a positive shift in achievement, which will spur his inner motivation. Tell him more often, “I believe in you,” “you can do anything,” “I know you can do it.

Celebrate progress

Minor shifts toward progress are not always realized by the child. But this fact can strengthen his faith in himself and improve his motivation to achieve. Here is a simple example for a toddler in the potty training stage. Let’s say he couldn’t do everything right. But at a certain point, he came to his senses and tried to go to the toilet, but he couldn’t. For him it is a failure, but for you visible progress. Mark it verbally, show that today he/she was able to achieve something more and praise. He will be more willing to do the right thing next time.

Give encouragement

Your support in the form of support and help is very helpful for your child to be more confident on the way to the goal. Often children do not feel the strength of their abilities before a difficult task. The knowledge that at any moment he will get words of support and, if necessary, your help, strongly reinforces the motivation of achievement.

Correlate praise with action

When a kindergarten student shows you his drawing, you tend to praise him and often say that he is good and a great artist. Aspiration is encouraged, but the form of accomplishment is not as effective. It is important to reflect in praise the achievement and not the child’s personality. In the previous example, it would have been better to say praise in words of a good drawing technique, beautifully chosen colors, a creative way of self-expression. Why this is the case? Young children understand that doing well is a characteristic of something good, but what it is, they don’t know. Therefore it is important to specify verbal encouragement, so it has a motivating potential.

Concentrate on the positives

In any situation of failure, which is heavily experienced by children, it is important to find its advantages. It is difficult for them to do it themselves, since they do not have formed reflexion mechanisms. So this task is on the shoulders of their parents. What an example of positive emphasis looks like:

  1. Admitting Failure. Don’t be under the illusion that a defeat is a victory. You don’t believe it yourself, and neither will the child. It’s important to acknowledge that failure has happened, but it’s fixable.

  2. Suggested course of action. Make an effort to improve the situation. When doing so, don’t talk about the general nature of the effort that needs to be put in, but make it specific. For example, a child gets a “C” on a test. Explain that extra activities, quality recreation will help you get a better grade in the future.

  3. A reflection of belief in possibility.Your motivational speech cannot end without positive reinforcement. Say that you are sure that his or her actions will be successful.

Help the child look for the plus side even in a hopeless situation

It is important for a child to see the perspective that follows his or her diligence and diligence. This perspective can be provided by you – the parents. No situation can carry an exclusively negative message. You made a mistake – nothing, now you know where the flaws were and you can fix them. Behaved badly – badly, but it will be a personal lesson on how not to behave.

Set an appropriate example

It is strange for children to hear speeches about the need for achievement and the effort put into them if parents do not demonstrate an active stance. Many adults who encounter difficulties get angry and quit. This example is seen by their children, who take their parents’ behavior as a yardstick. Accordingly, this way of responding to failure is adopted by them, and then vividly demonstrated. That’s why it’s important to start with yourself to develop motivation, and then help your child develop it.

Give him freedom of action

Constant control and coaching deprive the child’s actions of freedom, and the result of achieving joy. Let him stumble along the way and make mistakes, it’s a natural process of any action beyond the actual skills. When you let go of the reins a little, you will find that your emotional support and faith are enough to make achievements happen and motivation strengthens.

How to motivate teenagers

How to motivate a child

For adolescents, the basic motivational techniques of younger children are appropriate, but significant age-appropriate edits come into play. As you know, the teenage years are marked by personal contradictions, the formation of new ways to build communication, a shift in the close environment in the direction of peers. The motivational sphere also undergoes important transformations:

  1. Finding their place in the community comes to the fore. Teenagers focus their attention on the future – what they will become, will they be successful in their business, will they find their vocation. Younger children care about what is happening at the moment.

  2. The urge for self-discovery intensifies. Internal confrontation, changes in the way of life, and difficulties in self-discovery lead to increased interest in one’s own personality.

  3. Social motives change. It is important for them to find a solid niche in society, to secure a position in their social circle, to find acceptance among their peers. At this stage, children distance themselves from their parents and find dear friends with whom they discuss their painful problems.

  4. General learning motivation weakens. Teenagers focus only on those subjects that they think will help them get into their desired profession. In the rest, there is a decline in academic achievement.

I suggest a few ways to motivate recalcitrant teenagers.

Encourage his current interests

At this stage, hobbies are of paramount importance for the child. In them, they reflect their actual needs, dreams, goals and future outlook. Your criticism and rejection only leave wounds in the shaky parent-child relationship. And do not affect the child’s motivation in any way. What can parents do to strengthen their teenager’s motivation?? Support in their endeavors, help if they ask for it, and accept it wholeheartedly.

Avoid imposing your values and principles

Teenagers react strongly to attempts to “tweak” them and change them. They understand such interference as an expression of their failure. If you adhere to certain ideas of life, it does not mean that the children should follow your way. Imposing produces the opposite of the desired effect. The teenager wants to gain an identity, and committed unwanted parental actions.

Don’t force it

You can’t force a teenager, and parents should recognize that. They are no longer the same little children who listened to you in everything. They now try to find themselves and do things that help them do so. Allow freedom of action and choice.

Respect his hobbies

And not just hobbies: feelings, experiences, actions, accomplishments. At this age, there is an urgent need to feel like an adult. Showing leniency is a sign of treating him as a dependent and weak child. This kind of attitude irritates and angers teenagers, and gradually destroys their self-confidence.

Don’t criticize the fickleness of the teenager

It is the search for the right area of activity and interest that allows the child to find its fulfillment. It is difficult to come to a decision right away that will determine the person and his or her future. So support your teenager in this search, let him know that he can find what he wants. Does it motivate him? Unknown. But for sure will not stop at finding a cause that he will burn, and what results he will be proud of.


Parents are alarmed when they do not find their children particularly eager to learn and develop. But in the question of the development of motivation there is no place for anxiety, here it is important to be focused and result-oriented. Only mild measures can qualitatively and effectively affect the motivational sphere of the child. Rough, violent attempts to change it end in the opposite effect – the child becomes withdrawn and loses the desire to do something. I wish all parents patience and wisdom, and their children success and joy of achievement.

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