All children need motivation. In children, motivation drives the desire to achieve. Children look upon their parents as the key source of motivation to succeed in what they do. Motivated children focus on improving their abilities through personal efforts. These children also have a thirst for information that guides them on how to achieve the best. Motivation also helps the child focus on acquiring a new skill or knowledge.
Researchers have identified six developmental priming mechanisms - aspects of home environment that motivate the child to achieve her aspirations. The six mechanisms of motivation are (Ramey et al, 1998) are:
Encouragement to explore the environment
Mentoring basic social and cognitive skills such as:
Celebration of child's accomplishments
Guidance in practising and expanding skills
Protection from inappropriate punishment, teasing or disapproval for mistakes or unintended
consequences of exploring and trying out skills
Stimulation of language and other symbolic communication
The consistent presence of all six of these conditions early in life is essential to motivate children towards success.
You can adopt some guidelines towards providing children the required motivation. Once you have worked out on the guidelines, you must remember to be consistent with them.
Tips for Providing Children Motivation
Provide your child with a stimulating environment and a variety of experiences. This can be done by providing the child with different objects such as books, puzzles, blocks and so on.
Give your child toys or materials that he can use to make changes. For example, vehicle toys can be moved from one place to another (change of place). Similarly, play dough can be used to make different objects from the same thing (change of shape).
Allowing your child to make his own choices can make him independent and make him feel motivated.
Beads make good toys for your child to form a sequential chain. This sharpens his cognitive ability and enhances his concentrations. Shape sorters are yet another good choice.
Assign your child with age appropriate chores can help him become more responsible and in turn motivated to perform tasks.
Assist your child in developing the art of persistence. This is the ability to remain involved in an activity for a long period of time without giving up. A highly motivated child has good persistence and does not give up easily.
Be enthusiastic about what your child finds interesting. Talk and ask him as many questions as you can about these interests.
Offer your child a variety of challenges that are appropriate for his development. Success in one challenge motivates the child to take up another.
Help your child to learn some basic skills. Guide him in finding out what happens when he applies those skills and when he does not. If he tries to build a tower with a big block on top of a small block, the tower will fall. But the tower will remain steady if he places the smaller block on top of the bigger block.
Create opportunities for you to join your child in an activity and interact with him. You can use this time that you spend with him to observe and encourage him.
Reward your child for a task well done. Remember not to use the reward as a means of getting your child to do the task. Never announce the reward before hand.
Allow the child to join you and contribute his views when the family is involved in a decision making process.
Start reading to the child from his early skills. Choose a calm, warm and relaxing atmosphere. Reading aloud to him and showing him what you read can enhance his creativity and imagination. Keep the reading session to retain his interest.
Be consistent in meeting your child's needs and have well defined limits set for the child.
Make your child understand that each child is different and help him analyse his strengths and weaknesses. Provide your child with opportunities that help him work on improvising his strengths.
Assure your child that you trust his ability to perform a task. Let him know that failure does not mean inability to perform.
Give your child simple experiments that stimulate his curiosity. You can give him a magnet and encourage him to find which objects “stick on” to the magnet and which do not. Curiosity and inquisitiveness play a wide role in motivating your child.
Praise your child when he tries to achieve a new skill. This can motivate the child work on improvising the himself. The praise should focus on the effort rather than the accomplishment.
Help your child understand that it is not easy to achieve success. It takes time and effort to be successful.
Make reading funny for the child. You can make funny sounds and encourage your child also to do so. Both of you can also act out the characters in the story. This can make him excited about reading.
Ask your child to evaluate himself on his accomplishment. Asking him what he thinks of his performance is more beneficial than merely stating that he has done a good job.
Allow the child to use different approaches to perform an activity. Children learn how to do something using the trial and error method. Do not criticise the child for his wrong attempt.
Make your child why goals are needed and what he can do to achieve them.
Instead of telling the child how to do something, show him different possible ways he can try doing it.
Give your child opportunities to show others his talent and skills.
As children keep developing varying interests and abilities, your expectations are bound to change. Discuss expectations with your child periodically.
Avoid calling your child names or embarrassing him in front of others.
How to Know Positive Effects of Motivation in Children
The best way to analyse if your child is motivated is to study his emotions. A motivated child is happy with his performance and enjoys doing an activity. Children without motivation appear bored, quiet and withdrawn. They do not show interest in any activity and complain often. And if you have more than one child, offer experiences based on each child's needs.