Ways to motivate your child

Ways to motivate your child

Ways to motivate your child

Motivation is what drives a person to do something, or repeat a behavior. Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. However, motivating a child can be a challenging task, as every child is unique, with different interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

Intrinsic motivation is the self-driven desire to achieve a goal. But if a child is not self-motivated, it becomes important to motivate the child using external sources. Extrinsic motivators could be chocolate, laptop game, etc. Although, you’re providing extrinsic motivators to your child, do not stop building your child’s intrinsic motivators.

Here are simple ways to motivate your child –

  • First and foremost, try to understand what your child’s likes and dislikes are. If you choose a game, which the child does not enjoy, it is highly unlikely that will act as a motivator. Take interest to know about them. It additionally, also shows that you care for your child. They’re more likely to share their interests and thoughts with you.
  • Set simple and achievable goals for your child. It gives the child an idea about what is expected. Once the goal is set, the child understands what needs to be achieved, and how much effort it requires. A simple goal could be keeping the room tidy before 9 PM or saying 3 words in a sentence when communicating.


  • Make a Step-by-step plan. To achieve a goal, a plan is essential. Teach your child strategies and ideas to achieve the goal. Some ways to make plans is by providing visual aids or writing the steps in a chart.
  • Allowing your child to explore their own methods may not ALWAYS be beneficial. Give them room to explore, but always provide support and feedback.
  • Rejoice/ Reward your child’s achievement. Rewarding is the best way to motivate your child. The motivator could be anything that your child likes or enjoys doing. An ice cream, a game on the tablet/laptop, a game of football, coloring etc. However, the reward should be according to the goal achieved. You cannot reward the child with one hour of video game if he/she writes one page of homework.
  • Encourage them. Let your child know that they have the ability to achieve the goal, and you believe that they can. This will drive the child to give his best. On the other hand, if your child sees any negative emotion or doubt from you, he/she may lose self- confidence.
  • Encourage healthy competition. The child would like to be better than his peers and this drives them to give their best. Encourage him to do better, but draw a line on where he/ she needs to stop.
    healthy competition
  • Get them excited about achieving the goal. Show that you’re excited as well. Make the process as fun as possible. This will keep the child excited and also reduces the chances of drop in motivation.
  • Answer their questions. Children are curious for answers. They may ask, why they need to achieve a particular goal. Explain and give reasons as to why they need to do it. Some children may need more elaborate answers. For instance, the child may ask why he needs to say the ‘r’ sound properly, when he is easily able to manage without it. You have to say how talking clearly is important for others to understand you.

Kid with binocular

  • Acknowledge and Appreciate your child’s efforts. Irrespective of whether the goal is achieved, appreciate your child’s efforts. Let them know that their hard work made you happy. This will motivate your child to maintain his/her efforts.
  • Do not be judgmental!!! Do not keep telling the child ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at all times. When the child does not have the dagger of being judged at all times, he/she is more likely to explore new things/skills/ways etc.GAMES/ACTIVITIES THAT CAN MOTIVATE YOUR CHILD
  • Apart from giving them their favorite food, TV or video game, you can use more innovative activities like coloring, painting, art & craft activities, clay model building, Legos etc.
  • Some kids enjoy more of movement activities. For such kids dancing, skipping, swinging or a game of hide and seek could be the motivator.
  • Have a Quiz competition. This could be done for older kids or siblings. Use their goals to frame questions. Give them little prizes for the same.
  • Play treasure hunt.
  • This could be done in the following way –
    For example, you’re practicing the ‘s’ sound in the word level. Ask the child to say the target sound 10 times, and then give the clue to the “treasure”. The treasure could be a tiny reward. Keep the next goal 5 times and continue in the same way. The ultimate goal could be a bigger prize.
  • Some kids enjoy doing work their parents do. For example, cooking in the kitchen or repairing a chair. For such kids, use this opportunity to reward them. Let them roll the chapatti dough, or turn the screw of a chair, or cut vegetables/ paper etc. (Keep the dangers in mind before proceeding with the activity).
  • Use token system for bigger rewards. Use a sticky note or Velcro stars as tokens. Let the child know he needs to achieve 10 stars in the entire day to play a game in the tablet at night.Or if the goals are bigger, keep a target of 50-60 stars in the entire week to watch a movie in the weekend.token


We would love to hear your strategies as well 🙂

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Sadia Mariam
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