10 Best Ways To Motivate Your Child 

 27 August 2021

By  Karen Cruise

Does your child or teen seem really unmotivated? 

Are you worried they’ve lost their drive, determination or interest in things that they used to engage in? 

It is no surprise that teens especially get called unmotivated (as well as other words like disengaged, lazy, layabout). But, none of that is true.

Every single one of us has motivation. Yes, even your screen-obsessed teen.

However, instead of being motivated by their homework or hobbies, their motivation may be to resist your nagging or encouragement. They may be motivated by doing nothing. 

Mastering Motivation

Motivation is the force that drives humans to take action. Put simply; it is the reason why a person does something. 

There are two main types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation – Internal drivers that are purely for personal reasons and personal gratification
  • Extrinsic motivation – Drivers that arise from others or external factors often involving rewards such as recognition, praise or incentives. 

With this in mind, what motivation does your child need, and where can they find it? 

10 Ways To Motivate Your Child

1. Get To Know Their Needs

Psychologists say there as six main human needs, and each person will have their own order of importance for these needs, which are:

  • Love/Connection
  • Significance
  • Contribution
  • Growth
  • Variety 
  • Certainty

By spending time working out what’s most important to your child, you can start to understand how to position activities, so they’re more appealing, and your child is more motivated by them. 

2. What’s In It For Me?

It can be so hard to see the bigger picture, which is why kids and teens can struggle to see the importance of doing their homework, for example.

However, by helping your child to understand the bigger picture and how completing a task or activity actually benefits them, they are more likely to feel motivated as they build that intrinsic motivation. 

3. Give Them Control

A child may struggle to feel motivated because they just aren’t invested in it. This can be a challenge, especially when it comes to aspects such as schoolwork.

However, this is a chance to open up dialogue about what they are interested in.

It is also a chance to celebrate their independence – it’s brave for a child to admit they’re going against society’s norms.  

So, instead of forcing them or bribing them to do their homework, let them have a say in how they want to approach the situation.

Stay supportive and curious while helping them to think about the consequences of their decision. 

4. Tiny Steps

When a project or goal is too daunting, it is easy for motivation to evaporate.

This is where breaking a goal into really tiny and achievable steps can help.

Then create a plan where you can celebrate achieving the milestones that lead to the big goal. 

For example, if it is to read a book, start with reading just one sentence. Then, set a timer for five minutes, then a chapter.

Add rewards as celebrations for the steps and see the motivation reignite. 

5. Tap Into Their Motivators

Every child will have a different motivator. Some will be motivated by financial reward, some praise, and some will be motivated by competition.

Some will simply be motivated by their own progress.

When you can tap into what helps your child feel the ‘high’ of achieving their goal, you can help them create a determined spirit. 

6. Let Them Learn

Setbacks and unexpected results can help to build a child’s resilience, confidence and desire to succeed.

Instead of over-parenting them to get what they need. Step back, and let them learn for themselves.

For every challenge, your child will find out more about just how capable they are or can be 

Focusing on building that growth mindset where they can enjoy the process and the fact that they can continue to improve will help them to develop their motivation to keep going. 

7. What’s Stopping Them?

There can be so many reasons that children become unmotivated. However, a common reason is the pressure they’re under and the anxiety they face.

Children can avoid situations because they’re scared they won’t succeed.

Helping your child talk about any worries or anxieties they’re facing can be a great way to understand why their motivation has dropped. 

8. Get Competitive

Healthy competition can be a fantastic way to motivate a child. A child doesn’t have to compete with others.

Instead, they may find they can motivate themselves by competing with themselves.

For example, can they beat their attendance score from the last term? Can they score more goals than they did last season? 

Using competition to celebrate growth and development can be a fantastic way to keep their energy high. 

9. Celebrate Success

Motivation can wane when we focus heavily on the destination rather than the journey.

This is why it is important to celebrate accomplishments throughout the process.

Remember, accomplishments don’t need to be for events. They could be for hard work, perseverance or maintaining a positive attitude. 

10. Help Them To Discover Their Passion

Helping children understand what they’re passionate about can help them build connections to areas in their lives that they’re not motivated by.

Focusing on a passion and seeing how other aspects of life feed into this passion is a fantastic way to keep the big picture in mind and maintain motivation. 

If you need more support in helping your child find their motivation, Flourished Minds is here to help.

Find out more about what we do and how we can support you by booking your free consultation.

Karen Cruise - The Young People's Life Coach

Karen isn’t only an experienced, accredited coach, she’s also a hard-working mum with many years of employment in the corporate world, the last 10 at a very senior level.She’s been described as dynamic, intuitive, unstoppable when it comes to helping young people live their best lives.You’d be hard-pressed to find to a CEO more committed to help your child succeed.

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