Keeping kids on task and motivated is not an easy thing to do and can easily lead you to become frustrated and confused. Sound familiar to you? We’re here to help! Here are three easy and fun ways to keep kids motivated.
Gamification is one of the most popular strategies to motivate people, and this is no different for kids. Gamification is applying the mechanics and design of games to other contexts and can encourage kids to stay on task with the more mundane things that they really don’t want to do. This means you can incorporate “challenges” (things you may want them to do), “levels” (for example, a list of tasks becomes a set of levels to work through), and “points” (as a reward). You could also add some competition in order for them to try and beat each other, meaning they will try to do things faster or better than their peers.
Of course, encouraging competition can also be done through an actual game context. Playing games can encourage children to strive to be the best and want to win, which can then apply to other contexts. Introducing games with some healthy competition can help your child stay motivated in general, too.
Encourage a Positive Mindset
Kids seem to have all the motivation in the world when they’re really young – so where does it go? Often, kids lose motivation over past failures, a task being too difficult, or not getting enough of a reward. Encouraging a positive mindset can improve all of these things! Helping them try to see failures as part of a learning curve is a great way to make them feel less like a personal attack, and more like trying again. A great way to do this is to encourage the “experiment” mindset – seeing things as an experiment and seeing failures as methods to improve.
It's also helpful to show children the positive side of a task. They might not want to tidy their room, but explain that by tidying their room, they’ll have more space to play, or they will be able to find things next time they lose them. Helping them see the positives means they’re more likely to want to do something and will be more motivated to do it. They’ll also gain some personal satisfaction from that, carrying that motivation on to future tasks.
Set Out a Plan
Often, the best way to keep kids motivated is to set out a plan with them. When a task feels too big, breaking it down into smaller steps can help to keep them moving forward and towards the end goal. Not only does this make it seem much easier to achieve, but it also means you can reward them along the way, helping them feel more and more motivated to work for the next reward.
When setting a plan, adding time limits can mean your child gets to their end goal by a certain point. Deadlines can be a big motivator, and so offering them a reward if they do a certain thing by a certain time (for example, tidying their room before you finish dinner) can push them to complete things quicker than if they had all the time in the world. When making a plan, put it somewhere that it is clearly visible like on the fridge or on their bedroom door. This keeps it as a constant reminder, so they can quickly bring their focus back to the plan, or if they encounter an issue, feel reassured that it’s still possible.
These three small steps are a great way to help your child feel more motivated.