What is Motivation?

The intentions, desires, goals, and needs determine human behavior.

By education research, motivation and emotion are closely related. Some researchers argued that emotions are the true motivators, which drive other factors internally and cognitively take hold of behavior. People are willing to do things when they feel pleasure. That is why we need to find the kids’ interest and have to guide our kids to love to learn, which the most important thing is. In addition, the culture in which an individual is raised has a powerful effect on how the individual behaves. In another word, parents should create love-to-learn family culture, to set up a good role model for our kids.

To learn more parenting skills, please refer to great parenting books.

Motivate Ourselves to Set up a Good Role Model

Underachievement problems exist at all ages; it is not easily overcome just because we get older. As adults, we do sometimes lose patience on many things including on our kids’ education. We did not put enough time to help our kids to get better understanding on their school courses. We sometimes even yell at our kids, when they got bad grades.

As we require our kids to try their best to achieve success, we have to do same thing ourselves first. As the proverb says, “It’s not what you say, it is what you do”. I think to set up a good role model for our kids, is the most powerful answer to the question “how can I help motivate my kids?”

role model

We recommend Dr. Carol S. Dweck’s book Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology), published by Psychology Press.

Dr.Dweck mensioned that the students who blossom at their school are the ones who believe that intellectual skills are things they can develop. They see the more difficult schoolwork as a challenge to be mastered through hard work, and they are determined to do what it takes to meet these new challenges.

Throughout the book, Dr.Dweck offers suggestions for teachers and parents on how to increase childrens adaptive belief systems. She also includes warnings about the wrong type of praise and decries the over-emphasis on self-esteem. Although these suggestions and warnings are helpful and thought provoking, she seems to be too prescriptive and forceful.

Practical Tips for Motivating Kids

Motivating Kids can be a challenging task for parents and teachers. Not well-motivated kids, students usually underachieve and even fail in a classroom, although most of them are usually bright and have good potential. Just like what I mentioned in the previous post, we as the parents should guide our children to motivate themselves to be successful, which is an inner change in the child by motivating kids to be ambitious, confident, patient and persistent. Here are some tips to practice for Motivating Kids.

  1. Start early on as possible as you can, set up reasonable goals, begin with small tasks and give them time to improve. For example, have the child state the goal, the grade on their upcoming report card for their classes, math, English, science, history, etc.
  2. Tell your child that you love him/her and wish to help him/her to have a bright future, then start the conversation with patience on his/her daily school activities, homework, test, class projects, etc. Prepare to hear some “bad news”, if it did happen, do not be angry with him/her, be calm down and help your child find the problem and try to find a way to help him/her to solve the problem.
  3. In order to build a strong work ethic, need to set some rules and ask your child to follow, be strict and tell him/her why. For example, finish homework before watching TV. Why? Homework is the key to understand and master what teachers taught, which leads to his/her success in school. This rule helps him/her be stronger on self-control as well.
  4. Encourage and praise the child wisely, not too much, otherwise would mislead him/her to think he/she is the best. Namely, let him/her know that the best needs continuous learning, although did a good job today, need do better tomorrow.
  5. Teach your child to have passion for learning new knowledge by showing fun stuff for the project and try to get his/her interest.
  6. Tell your child successful stories. Help them to understand to get a good education and succeed in school is one of the most important things for his/her life.
  7. Tell your child to make friends with those who are successful in school. Do your best to get your child into a good school, because a healthy competition environment challenges the kid and help him/her to develop better.
  8. Introduce some real role models to your kids, who fighting hard with difficulties and succeeded at last, gained people’s respect. Help him/her to learn that if we suffer a set back, we don’t give up. Instead, we try harder.
  9. Just like parenting, motivating your children is a life-long job. Keep investing your time, efforts to motivate your kids no matter how busy you are, because it is the most important investments in your life. Kids are our future!

Motivating Kids

If you are interested in this topic, please refer another 9 tips in the book for Motivating Kids, Drive: 9 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Achieve, which includes expert advice on helping children, teens, and young adults become self-starters, successful learners, and involved citizens of the world.

In Drive, an excellent book for Motivating Kids, nationally renowned educator Dr. Janine Caffrey shows how to inspire your children and develop this vital characteristic. How do I get my child excited about learning? To enroll in a good college? To move out of the house? To create his own life? Designed to assist parents, educators, and counselors to get kids of all ages off the couch and into the world, Drive outlines nine specific steps proven to beat boredom and foster self-motivation and resourcefulness. Filled with quizzes, anecdotes, and practical strategies, Drive helps parents turn “Generation Me” into “Generation Move.”

Motivating Kids to try their best and Motivating Kids to be Ambitious, Confident, Patient and Persistent by these practical parenting tips are what we believe to help kids build a solid foundation for them to succeed in school and in life.