Possible to Motivate an Un-Motivated Child?

“School is so boring.”

“I don’t want to do my homework.”

“I don’t want to go, I’d rather play Xbox.”

“It’s too hard. I’m quitting.”

I’ve heard some of those things from my kids over the years. Haven’t you?  Words like these sometimes indicate a lack of motivation.

  1. Have realistic expectations of your child.  Not every child will make straight A’s or start on their sports team. Not every child will go to college and get their MBA.  “Type A” driven moms,  like me, need to be really careful not to impose their personalities on their children and expect they will be just like us. Also, we should not try to make our dreams, their dreams.
  2. Be a model of motivation.  Your personal example is key to motivating your child. If you are glued to the tube, you can’t expect your child to want to go out in the back yard and play sports. If you constantly complain about work, what message is that sending to your child? Your child needs to see you loving your work, exercising, and celebrating goals achieved.
  3. Make sure your child breaks a mental and physical “sweat.”  Your child may think, “Why do chores when the cleaning people will do them?” Or, no need to mow the lawn. We’ve got a gardener to do it.” Or, “Why should I write the paper when my girlfriend will do it for me?”  A well-developed and motivated child needs to do some physical labor around the house. He also needs to learn how to think on his own.
  4. Give your child a “carrot.”  A reward, such as money for A’s or B’s can work well. A weekly allowance may be appropriate if all chores are done with excellence. More minutes for the cell phone or data plan can be rewarded to the child who reads an extra book each month or extra TV time for homework completed on time.
  5. Be a cheerleader.  Children need constant affirmation. Cheer them on in everything they do…“Good shot,” “Way to go.” “I’m so proud of you.” “Awesome performance.” Always, always encourage your kids.  But don’t do it artificially.  No kid needs a trophy just for participating.
  6. Dream with your child.  Ignite her dream of being a musician; take her to see an orchestra. Fire up his interest in reading; get him some books on things he is interested in like the outdoors or sports. Encourage his interest in business matters; teach him about investing.
  7. Help your child set and own their goals.  If it’s your goal for your child, he will be less likely to pursue it. If your child owns his goal, he is much more likely to achieve it.  ‘Nuff said?