Encourage Self-Motivation in Your Child

Encourage Self-Motivation in Your Child

Last update: 21 August, 2016

Self-motivation is a concept that isn’t always completely understood. It’s more than just a way to overcome a lack of interest, or to act without making protests or excuses. Self-motivation also involves initiating action and persisting by yourself, without needing anybody else to push, encourage, reinforce, or bribe you.

Self-motivation for learning is naturally present in children until about 7 years of age. Regardless of what they do, they aim to learn and discover (both the world and themselves), so usually you don’t need to do anything.

However, after your child turns 7 years old, or if you observe a noticeable lack of motivation in them, you must encourage the development of self-motivation, since this is a life skill that they’ll need if they want to be successful.

Even though self-motivation can only come from within, there are ways to help your child feed that sense of motivation, thereby giving them an advantage that will pay off later. Let’s look at this further.

Promote self-confidence

Children are more motivated to learn, try new things, and interact with other people if they believe they’re capable of doing so. Having confidence in them is the first step towards them having confidence in themselves.

dad high five

If you want to truly help your child, give them the chance to solve problems by themselves, to find solutions to the little puzzles that pop up each day, and to confront new situations. If they make a mistake, or if they don’t do something as well as they should have or the way you would have liked, it doesn’t matter. What’s truly important is that your child feels capable of doing it.

Parental over-protection and over-involvement encourages dependence in children. On top of making them dependent, it also prevents them from having confidence in their abilities and finding the motivation to improve.

Encourage persistence

Reward your child for their effort rather than only recognizing their successes, and this will increase their self-motivation. You’ll help them learn how to adaptso that they can deal with failure and keep trying until they succeed.

Being persistent is an emotional ability that is key to success in many areas of life. Teach your child to accept that they’re going to fail sometimes and show them that losing and failing is an opportunity to improve and learn.

Feed their interests

Everybody, children included, has concrete interests. Even if they’re not in line with your expectations or your own interests, you should encourage your child to follow their interests.

girl drawing

But don’t manipulate them into loving what you think suits them. Instead, you should help them freely discover what they’re passionate about. This will give them the internal drive they need to stay hopeful, active, and happy. Not only will they be able to do what they like the most, they’ll also be able to share it with the people they love the most.

Give them a chance to taste success

If there’s one thing that pushes us to give the most of ourselves, it’s tasting success. Success is addictive. It shows us that we’re capable, that we can do things, that we can overcome our limitations and be better than we were before.

Apply the pedagogy of success to your child. Do you want them to learn something new, to be motivated to develop a new skill? Show them that they can learn new things by letting them try a task you know they’ll be able to do, and as you move forward, let them feel what it’s like to achieve.

When your child achieves a new goal, celebrate it instead of comparing it with something that they haven’t achieved yet or reminding them that they still have a long way to go.



This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.