Motivating your children is one of the hardest roles in parenting. Each child is individually different and even twins can't always be motivated in the same way. So how do you know what will motivate each of your children to do the best in everything they do? You will first need to listen and get to know your child. That means spending time with them and getting to know their likes and dislikes. Talk to them and learn their particular needs.
Once you've learned what motivates your children to do things on their own, you can expand on that and find individual ways to motivate each of your children. Motivation needs will change, as they grow older and mature they will need different motivations.
When children are small, motivation for good behavior can be many different goals. One child can be motivated to be on his best behavior by simply giving him a snack as a reward for being good. If they have a sweet tooth, it's possible to buy sugar-free candies and even sugar free chocolate. I found with my grandchildren that a promise of a Popsicle after toys are picked up is a great motivator. I make the Popsicles myself out of real fruit juice so they are getting a treat and something healthy. Two for one, not bad is it?
As they grow a little older, a sucker or Popsicle won't do the trick any more. They require something they are more interested in. Some may respond to a goal of being able to spend an extra half hour watching TV or playing videos. Others may be motivated by increased phone use, or extra playtime. You will know what your kids will respond to by listening to them and tuning into their feelings. How about an extra trip to the library, or a good children's museum, these are wonderful goals to work for. Make it a fun time and reinforce the positive feelings that come from happy family outings. Never underestimate how important it is to your child to spend quality time. Quality, happy time, is valuable in keeping your child motivated to grow into the person you want him or her to be.
Of course, when they reach the teenage years, you have a new ball game. Goals then change with the maturity of the teen. Goals or motivations sometimes have to change daily. If your son's passion is driving, then a long-term goal of earning his own car could be just the ticket to keeping his grades up and staying out of trouble. Just like schools use their sports programs to keep participants studying and doing what is right, so can any parent do the same thing. Do you have a child that has artistic talent? The perfect goal for them would be a trip to the local artists supply store.
Maybe the one motivational goal you can give your children is time with them. My grandchildren are little, but their goal is to be the one who was good for the week so they can go to Grandma's house to spend the night. It has gotten the kids through trial days at preschool, shots for school physicals, and stays at the hospital. Each child has their own special activity that they do with Grandma and they know they will have Grandma's attention the whole time they are here. That's not spoiling them, it is spending time to really get to know them and what makes them want to behave and do good things.
If you know your child has a special interest, then you can foster that interest into positive reinforcement goals.
Only you know what the best goal is to act as a motivator for your children. Positive motivations work much better than threats and punishment. Those sometimes work in the opposite way and end making matters worse. Most people react to positive reinforcement and praise than they do negative criticism and harshness. Try a change of direction with your children. Praise them for the little things and they will begin to see that behaving and getting good grades in school is something worth working for
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