Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Motivating Your Child

Children love life. Every child before self-consciousness sets in, acts spontaneously with total abandon and full involvement. Everything interests them. Have you ever watched a toddler? They whirl until they’re dizzy. Run until they fall. Paint wildly. Sing unconsciously. We all felt like that once. Life realities inevitably intruded. Maybe it was the arrival of another sibling, a bad grade, or friends laughing at us. We became afraid or lost our sense of safety. When we are scared, defensive, threatened or feeling inadequate we loose a bit of this feeling of aliveness. The results... we quit trying new things, our zest for life is tempered and motivation slows.

While it is impossible to shield your child from life’s problems, it is important to provide the safest environment possible. A child’s motivation is sacred and needs to be protected. Parents are the best ones to protect their child’s dreams because they are the ones who understand, love and believe in their children.

Keep as much fear and frustration out of your child’s world as possible. You want them to retain curiosity and have an excitement for learning. You have much to offer your child. No one can encourage and protect your child like you. The support, protection and love you give your child are far more important than the discipline.There will be plenty of disapproving people in your child’s life. Don’t add your name to that list.

What is the best way to go about motivating our children?

Step One: Improve the attitude you portray
Your children should feel the spirits of love, respect, trust and safety when they are near you. They need to know you will protect them, have positive comments for them and will always tell them the truth (gently). If you can keep this type of aura, your children will want to be around you and they will be blessed from your wisdom and good judgment.

Step Two: Introduce New or Creative Activities
Pay attention to your child’s abilities and introduce them to activities you enjoy or think they may enjoy. Teach them new skills like throwing a baseball, cooking, literature, horseback riding, music, video games, tennis, swimming, etc. Do not expect them to be perfect or learn it on their own. They need your help and guidance.

Step Three: Set Your Own Standards of Success
Don’t let others set the standards by which you will succeed. Protect your child from being overwhelmed. When a child is given more than they can handle, they quit trying. It kills motivation. A quick example: In grade school it is common practice for children to be given weekly spelling words. If your child struggles and continually fails the spelling test, work with your child. Don’t let them get discouraged. Figure out how many words she can realistically learn to spell in a week. Talk with her teacher. Adjust the number of words on her test. Let her have the satisfaction of getting 100% on a spelling test. Her motivation will soar. When your child has success, she will push herself and ask for more words.

Step Four: There is not a timeline or creative path that fits everyone.
Each child is unique. We did not all learn to walk at the same time or read at the same time. Let your child progress through life as ready. When your children are allowed to progress on their own timeline, they become excited about learning. Maturity affects motivation. Don’t push your children...let them grow at their own pace.

As unique individuals, none of us will travel down the same path or accomplish our goals in the same way. Help your child, but step back as they begin to discover their direction.

Another example of learning to be open to your child’s motivation: Too often as parents we are told that we must protect our kids from computers.( We all know there is a lot of garbage on the internet) My sons spent many hours playing games, using social media and browsing the internet. It took a lot of trust along with many conversations about the negative influences they would encounter online. Out of fear, I made sure our computers were located in rooms where traffic flowed. I knew I could not stop or control their curiosity and excitement for the technology they were inhaling. I had no idea where this interest would take them. I must admit, it has led to motivation and success in college. The skill and knowledge they obtained in their youth is leading to success in their careers. In fact my son is using social media to promote the new Hobbit movie that is currently in production. Go to: and take a look.

Coming next blog..Have you tapped into your own creativity? It may benefit your child to unblock your own creativity: