Motivation is an interesting topic. It is described as a reason why we act or behave in a specific way. It makes sense then why we search the web, talk to fellow parents, and read “how to” books in order to parent. We are on the lookout for how to get our children to behave and follow through with their responsibilities. Our motivation is to create self-sufficient, secure young people that will learn how to thrive in society. I argue that our best resource as to what will motivate our children is our children themselves. Here are some tips on how to learn what will motivate them.
Have a conversation. This may seem obvious but surprisingly it is a step that is often overlooked!
Explain what motivation is. Kids understand that they eat because they are hungry. Adults understand that we eat because we are hungry, bored, need comfort, enjoy variety…
Be clear and share your motivation. This is a powerful tool to explain what expectations you have for your children and where they need to step it up. It also lays the ground work to show that you are in this with them.
What motivates one does not necessarily motivate another. Ask and observe your children individually to collect your tools to support their success.
Listen without bias. This is your opportunity to really listen to what your children understand and want.
Ask clarifying questions. The best way to keep a conversation going is to show your children that you care about what they are saying.
Take notes. What may seem like a small detail in the moment, may be the start of something valuable.
Ask questions. Direct the conversation where you want it to go. Make a list before you get started. Here are some suggestions.
What is motivation?
What do you think about motivation?
What do you think motivates you?
What makes you feel special?
When do you feel appreciated?
How do you feel supported?
How can we help you get _______ done? (tasks, responsibilities)
What is the nicest thing that _______ has done for you?
Do you like stickers, stamps, or high fives the best?
If I had a goodie bag, what would you hope was inside?
This is not a shopping list. Don’t be surprised if your kiddos start listing off items that may be better suited for Santa Claus. Don’t let it phase you. This process may serve more then one purpose!
Communication comes in many ways. When you make suggestions pay attention to body language.
Take a look around their room or playing area. What book are they reading? What movies do they watch? What item is circled in a magazine?
This is all a step in understanding your child and learning how you can use what motivates them to attain what should be considered a mutual goal. Shaping young capable children to become strong successful adults.
I hope to hear back from many of you. I intend to continue this series in shaping young minds. Your feedback is essential to helping me to attain my goal which is to support families, such as yourselves.