This generation of children get a bad wrap for not being intrinsically motivated. Is it necessarily their fault? No. If we are not encouraging or modeling intrinsic motivation ourselves how do we expect children to build their self-motivation muscle?
The key component to building your child’s inner-motivation is creating a sense of autonomy. Giving your child autonomy is giving them independence and freedom. Let them choose how they will handle a challenging task or activity. Leave it up to them to come and ask for help instead of jumping right in to save the day or prevent your child any frustration.
When a parent fosters autonomy, a child will be more likely to explore interests and extend activities on their own. When a teacher fosters autonomy, a child will produce internal motivation and a desire for challenge.
Here are five ways to help build your child’s self-motivation muscle…
Encourage growth mindset.
First and foremost, having a growth mindset is the most important factor when it comes to the self-motivated child. A growth mindset is when people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Be specific when complimenting your child on their work, such as “I am impressed with how hard you worked on that math problem” instead of “you’re so smart!”.
Figure out where your child’s inner motivation lies.
Take the time to observe and ask your child about their true inner motivations. Ask, “what makes you feel really happy?”. Figure out what ignites your child’s inner fire.
Talk to your child about what it is they want in life.
This may seem far fetched but it’s important to make it a priority of talking with your child and helping them articulate what is it they want in life. This will help them steer their ship in the right direction. What do they love to do? What do they feel they are best at?
Give your child the space and time they need to support the flow of any activity they love to do. Encouraging and experiencing flow helps your child perform better as well as improve their skills in that area.
Teaching your child how to be persistent is key to building their self-motivation. Model behaviors, thoughts and attitudes of how you handle challenging situations in front of your child. Children are always watching and picking up our habits (for better or worse!).
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