Every challenge is great, even if we fail…
Motivating a child comes from teaching him or her that engaging in the battle to read or understand is fun. Winning is fun. Even losing is fun because we are doing something!
Succeeding at this first step involves changing the idea that ‘everything should be easy and that children should not experience failure’, to the idea that ‘the very challenge is great!’
Embrace the challenge with your kids!
Perhaps your child is mad and frustrated because you, and almost everyone else in the world, seem to know how to read or do math better than he or she does! Don’t hide the fact that it is hard or that he or she might fail, celebrate it. Simply reassure your child that he or she can succeed. Explain that there is a logical process and, as soon as he or she learns it, accomplishment will follow.
Motivating a child requires that you assure the child that the job can be done, that there is a set of basic rules to be followed and that your child can understand these basic rules.
In other words, that it is possible and that he or she can understand.
The child must be able to say to him or herself, “Even if I don’t succeed right away, I am capable of understanding, trying and eventually succeeding.”
Failure allows children to develop healthy self-esteem. Knowing that they can try, fail, and try again is the beginning. It helps to develop the confidence that somehow they can cope, “Somehow I can figure this out.” This confidence and this knowledge build self-esteem.
The next step to motivating is to help the child relate the task to something that is important in his or her own life.
- Why will this be a good thing to do?
- Why should I change?
- What will I gain from the change?
There are no set answers every child is different. Parenting itself is a very active process. Use examples from the child’s own experiences. Find ways to motivate that involve the day-to-day world of each individual child.
Create small challenges that are achievable and measurable which will assist in the development of a healthy self-esteem and confidence in his or her own mind.
Teach in small and subtle ways the idea that we are each responsible for ourselves and our own gains, that we are proud of what we have learned and of our ability to learn and grow.
This does not mean that we do not help each other or that we cannot accept help. It does mean that the actual work – the thinking and learning – is something we have to do on our own.