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Empower Your Child With Intrinsic Motivation – Part 1

It’s a common tactic to use extrinsic motivation as a means to encourage children to do something. These include a promised trip if they get good grades, or dessert if they finish their vegetables. Although offering rewards makes them repeat good behaviour or actions, children may only follow instructions or advice if they’re given something in return, and will stop behaving if they are no longer rewarded.

To continuously use this method would end up hampering the development of intrinsic motivation – their ability to motivate themselves to accomplish something. Instead of studying hard in order to get a new mobile phone, an intrinsically motivated child would study hard because they appreciate the knowledge that they receive, or find learning a subject to be fascinating.

They are also less at risk of feeling disappointed when results don’t turn out the way they hoped which is a common trigger for depression. That’s because they would know the journey counted and they’d have experienced joy along the way, and that the destination was not the be all end all but a small part. And ultimately, intrinsic motivation naturally produces better results, and a happier life, in itself.

Expect self-discipline

Don’t bribe or reward them for completing tasks that are expected of them, especially if it’s expected of their age. Setting up tasks for them is a good way to build self-discipline. For example, get them to take up chores they are able to do themselves, such as washing their dishes. Guide and help them through the first few times after introducing it to them, then let them do it themselves. Don’t give them a reward for completing something simple! While it takes time to establish, they will be able to complete tasks in the future without issue.

Get them to set goals and achievements

Have your child write down what they want to accomplish in the future. Letting them set these goals, short-term or long-term, gives them a sense of control in their own development. They will become more determined to reach a goal they set for themselves than one forced upon them. You can also give them a specific goal to reach, like prepare a short presentation about geography, but let them pick the topic they are interested in. They will soon be able to come up with what they want to do and with your help, can figure out how to achieve it.

Don’t scare them out of messing up

Negative thoughts and feelings often prevent children from becoming intrinsically motivated. If they are afraid of making mistakes, they will not be willing to improve. Therefore, if your kid makes a mistake or breaks a rule, it’s important for you to find out why they did it. Let them explain themselves, but if punishment is necessary, you have to be firm regardless of their reasons. Explain to them why what they are doing is wrong, possible consequences, and what they should do to prevent it from happening again. Keep in mind that they may feel unloved during these times, so communicate your feelings clearly and remind them you still love them.

Intrinsic motivation is a good thing to cultivate at a young age. Starworks is one of the avenues you can take to help your child learn about it. Check out our program while awaiting our next article on intrinsically motivating your child.