Motivating The Unmotivated

Today I'm excited to welcome Jane Bongato to the Corner for some words of wisdom about motivating our children.

5 Ways to Pep Talk Your Unmotivated Children
by Jane Bongato

Photo from Flickr
You love your children unconditionally. But sometimes the frustration you feel when you watch them wasting their day playing video games or doing anything but their chores or homework can be overwhelming. While you want to strike a chord of motivation in them, the battle between playing their favorite video games and doing their homework is not an easy one to fight. You remember how it was as a child yourself and can relate, but you still wish that there was something you could do to make your children more motivated to do well in school and with their extracurricular activities.

Photo from Flickr
The situation can quickly worsen when it becomes less about the task at hand and instead turns into a power struggle between you and your children. They may act out and become less motivated the more you ask them to do something and the more you give your reasons for why finishing their homework or getting good grades is so important.

Still, as much as your children may not want to listen, there are certain things you can use in a pep talk that may ring true and just might motivate them to change their perspective. Here are five things you can say and do to get your unmotivated children back on track down the road to success.
1.   Lead by example – Instead of pushing your children to be motivated, do what you can to lead by example. By aiming to be an inspiration to your children and showing them what it looks like to be motivated and to do well, you can set an example that will show them the benefits of hard work. This is important as your children will learn best by what they see you accomplish rather than by being nagged to do more.
2.  Do not nag to motivate your children toward the wrong actions – Constantly getting on your children’s case to do their homework or chores could motivate them to dislike you rather than push them to be motivated toward the right behaviors. Instead, back off and try not to let your anxiety or stress show. Let them know their options and what you expect out of them, then leave it up to them to complete the tasks at hand in a certain time period. This way, you become less of the villain and more of the supporter of their work, leading to less of a power struggle between you and them.
3.  Hold your children accountable – In the real world, if you do not do your job correctly, you will be punished by losing your commission or losing your job completely. Your children must learn this type of accountability early on to really feel the consequences of their lack of motivation. Set specific and attainable goals for your child and let them know the reward or consequence they will receive if they do not meet their goals. Then, leave it up them to do what they need to in order to accomplish each of their goals. This will help teach them the valuable skill of accountability and holding themselves responsible for doing well.
4.  Let your children motivate themselves – When you make the conscious decision to teach your children how to become self-motivated, you will be able to let go more easily. When you let go, you will inevitably nag your children less and show them that you have faith in their abilities. This way, they are self-driven to reach their goals instead of feeling like you are the one that got them to where they need to be. This will encourage them to accomplish more in the future and help boost their self-confidence and it will show them what they are capable of on their own.
5.  Use what motivates your children as an incentive instead of punishment – If your children love their video games, use that as an incentive they can earn. Encourage their progress by periodically rewarding them with the activities that they love, including video games or playing with friends. But show them that in order to receive their reward time, they must work hard first. This will teach them that hard work pays off.

Remember, pushing your children to motivate them can have adverse effects. Instead, use a reward and consequence system to show your children the benefits of doing well vs. doing poorly. When they see what they can accomplish, this, in turn, will help boost their motivation as well as their self-confidence.

About The Author:
Jane Bogato is an early childhood educator with a background in Psychology and closely works with children who have special needs for about 6 years now. She enjoys reading, painting or meeting friends during her spare time.

1 comment

I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!