Are you tired of having to nag your kids to do their homework, get dressed or stop dawdling? I want to teach self-motivation to my kids which will set them up to be successful in life.
I found myself telling my boys 10 times within 5 minutes to do one simple task and I was over it. How do Tiger Moms get their kids to do their work and chores without becoming a screaming lunatic? These are the things I want to learn so I have researched how other moms teach self-motivation so they don’t have to nag.
According to Dictionary.com, self-motivation is defined as the “initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.” In work, school, and play, self-motivation is an integral part of achieving goals and living a happy, fulfilled life. Self-motivation, like most skills, is one that needs to be taught and nurtured throughout childhood. The following five steps will help improve your child’s self-motivation and assist them as they navigate through their schooling career, as well as into adulthood.
5 Steps to Nurturing Self-Motivation in Children
Talk About Internal and External Motivation
It is important to tell children that self-motivation can help them achieve their goals, but unless they understand exactly what that means it can be difficult for them to display the behavior you are hoping to see.
Talk with them about the differences between internal and external motivation. Give examples and ask them to make examples of their own.
Explaining the difference between the two types of motivation makes it easier for kids to understand and recognize when they are acting out of extrinsic or intrinsic motivation.
Oh man..this is hard. We actually have to do it ourselves! One of the most powerful ways to teach a child is to model the behavior you want to see. While children listen to what adults say, they are highly attuned to actions as well. If you want your children to be self-motivated, model that behavior.
Complete tasks that require you to be self-motivated like setting goals and working toward them. Even things as simple as vacuuming the floor or planting flowers can model self-motivation to create a happier, more fulfilling life. The more children see the adults in their lives working towards their goals and achieving them, the more likely they are to demonstrate the same types of behaviors. Leading by example is a powerful way to teach.
Set Achievable Goals and Have a Purpose
Teaching children how to set achievable goals and understand the purpose of their efforts is a wonderful way to help them become more self-motivated.
“The most effective way to help children reach their goals and become internally motivated is to teach them about purpose,” says Kate Roberts, Ph.D. The more children understand how their actions impact their goals, the more self-motivated they become to exhibit behavior that leads them to their purpose.
For instance, if a child’s goal is to join the school’s basketball team, but he needs to have a 3.0-grade point average, self-motivated studying can lead to doing better on a test which may mean a higher grade and a better chance of making the team.
Understanding the bigger picture of the ultimate goal helps children make the connection between their actions and how they can either help or hinder them from achieving the things they want. It may also make them more aware of how their lack of self-motivation can work against them.
It is important that the goal be one that is generated by the child and one in which he is genuinely invested. For example, if it is the parents’ goal for the child to achieve a certain G.P.A., but the child has no desire or purpose for attaining it, there will be little self-motivation. However, once a child is invested in the goal of getting better grades, there is often a surge of self-motivation.
Hang Around People Who Are Self-Motivated
Just like modeling the behavior associated with self-motivation leads to children being more intrinsically motivated, so too does the company they keep. If they are surrounded by people who are setting goals and working toward them, they are more likely to do the same thing.
While parents may not be able to shape the group of friends their children have, they can encourage them to seek out those people who have dreams and goals. Although the goals may be different, the desire and self-motivation to explore new paths and achieve their goals are often similar.
Point Out the Positives
When self-motivation is lagging, it’s a good idea to reflect on the positives of the behavior. Teach children to think through their actions and relate them to their goals. If a child does not want to study for a test, questions such as, “If you don’t study, what will happen? How will that impact your grade? How will your grade impact your ability to do xyz?” can help them work through feelings of being unmotivated.
In terms of being self-motivated to help out around the house or complete chores, make a point of expressing gratitude for their help. Thank them for helping to make the home cleaner for the whole family. When a child feels like he or she is part of a team – whether it be at home or school – he is more likely to be self-motivated to contribute.
Self-motivation impacts every aspect of a person’s life. It provides children and adults alike with the necessary motivation to begin and complete tasks that may otherwise not be appealing. Without self-motivation, goals would not be achieved, and children would not learn how to reach their potential.
In our family our next step is to have a goal making session and the hardest part will be modeling it myself.
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