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A Parent’s Guide to Encouraging Self-Motivation for Kids

Give your kids a head start by teaching them self-motivation. While children have a natural sense of curiosity, intrinsic motivation is a capacity that can fade away unless it’s encouraged and developed. Learn how to help your children love learning and growing more than grades or privileges.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

For years, experts thought cognitive intelligence was the deciding factor in academic success and other achievement, but now greater importance is being given to emotional intelligence. Kids with an inner drive to work hard have the edge. Studies suggest students fueled by intrinsic motivation think more logically and apply their knowledge and skills more effectively.

  1. Focus on character. Help your children acquire traits like patience, resilience, and persistence. Communicate your values by putting them into action.
  2. Provide context. Discuss what you believe and why. When your children understand the purpose behind cleaning their room and completing their homework, they’ll be more likely to cooperate.
  3. Set goals. Age-appropriate challenges give kids something to strive for. Be specific and put their objectives in writing. Celebrate their progress and keep looking ahead.
  4. Boost confidence. Empower your kids with a strong sense of self-worth and optimism. Let them know that they are capable and worthy of amazing things.
  5. Strengthen relationships. Feeling connected can inspire anyone to contribute to their family and community. For some kids, social activities may increase their interest in household tasks and school subjects that they used to find boring.
  6. Offer choices. Show your sons and daughters that they have options. Deciding whether to spend their allowance money on comics or save up for a bicycle will introduce them to the advantages of delayed gratification.
  7. Take risks. Kids who feel secure are more likely to seize promising opportunities. Praise your kids for initiative and effort regardless of the immediate outcomes. That way they’ll learn from setbacks instead of holding themselves back.
  8. Stimulate curiosity. Granted, teaching self-motivation is a big job, but kids make a great audience. They’re already inquisitive and adventurous. Guide their energy in a positive direction.

More Tips

You have a powerful influence on your kids. Create a home environment that guides them towards satisfying their own expectations.

  1. Start early. When you think about it, it’s impressive how determined kids are to start talking and walking. Your support can reinforce that inner fire and help them hang on when life becomes more complicated.
  2. Limit rewards. Studies show that external rewards can actually dampen our enthusiasm, even for tasks we like. Save them for special situations only.
  3. Find a hobby. On the other hand, devoting leisure time to enriching activities is a great teaching tool. Observe your child’s talents and interests. Suggest outings and projects that will capitalize on their strengths. Maybe they shine at racquet sports or playing the piano.
  4. Share feedback. Open and ongoing communications build trust. Ask probing questions and listen closely to what your child thinks. Maybe they’re pleased with how they’re doing in school or maybe they need additional resources like tutoring so they can catch up and remain engaged.
  5. Be a role model. The more self-motivated you are, the more likely you will be to pass those qualities on to your kids. Whether you’re returning to school to pick up a second degree or spending your weekends volunteering at an animal shelter, your children will pick up on your example.

Raise your children to be hungry to learn and eager to work hard. Building up their self-motivation will prepare them to accomplish more and experience greater fulfillment.