As parents, we sometimes struggle to understand our children’s perceived lack of motivation for the really important things in life, such as school work or physical fitness. Leaving you exasperated with what appears to be your lazy child.
In fact, by pushing them into doing those things, you are likely to be met with resistance, as opposed to increasing their motivation.
But don’t accept it as something that can’t change. The key is to help your children become self-motivated, rather than punishing, begging, or bribing them to display the type of behavior you want them to exhibit.
So how can you motivate your child to become more active and productive?
Don’t Provide Everything On a Silver Platter
This is first step to altering a child’s thinking without outright punishing or rewarding them for very specific behavior.
For instance, let’s say that you are out shopping and your child has demanded a new pair of gym shoes when there’s nothing wrong with their current pair. Rather than just giving an outright “no”, think about how you can use this as a lesson for your currently lazy child.
Sometimes it’s better to take a slightly different approach. Lead with a phrase similar to “ok, if you want those shoes, what can you contribute to how much they cost?”.
Immediately they begin to realize that the things they desire in life are not going to be just handed to them on a silver platter. They will better understand the value of working first, and earning their desired goal (new shoes) later.
Set An Example
This may sound obvious, but if your child sees you crack open a can of soda, empty a bag of chips into a bowl and then turn on the TV to binge watch soaps every afternoon, then they are going to exhibit similar lazy behavior.
Set the example for your child.
If all they see of you is taking care of the laundry, paying the bills and heading off to work (if you’re not a stay-at-home mom), they are going to see hard work as a normal part of your household. They will start to exhibit behavior that reflects that.
It’s surprising how much of an effect parents’ behavioral patterns can have on a child. It’s perhaps why so many of us moms pick up parenting techniques used on us when we were children.
Don’t forget the example you set can cover a broad spectrum, including exhibiting the value you place on regular exercise (if your child is currently physically inactive), or the importance of chores (if they don’t help around the house).
Delve into Their Motivations
There’s no such thing as a completely lazy child. There’s usually some item or some activity that they can get really motivated for.
By taking a step back and asking yourself “what does my child really enjoy?” or “what do they actually want?” you can begin to start setting a structure that makes your child want to earn those perceived rewards.
We rarely talk with our children about what their ambitions and motivations are at a young age. But by doing so, us moms can begin to understand what will steer them to focus on the important stuff such as school grades or exercise.
For example, like many children, it may be the case that all your child wants to do is play video games.
Don’t just confiscating their games. Talk to them about how the people who develop these games had to work very hard on their schoolwork when they were younger. They had to work hard to be able to do what they love full-time.
Similarly, if their lack of willingness to exercise is concerning you, you could relate physical activities back to their favorite games.
Kids will love making costumes of their favorite characters with you and playing out their gaming fantasies in the back yard, getting that all important exercise in, without being glued to a screen.
Let Them Face the Consequences of Their Actions
This builds on my previous point and sets a framework for bringing about self-motivation within your currently lazy child.
Let’s use the video games example once more.
If a child knows by not completing homework or chores that they don’t get access to their games console, then you put the power of the decision in their hands.
You are not telling them what to do, how to do it, or why they should care about things like good grades in school or contributing to the household. You are simply teaching them the basic principle that hard work is rewarded.
Don’t give up on them just yet
Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle to motivate your child.
But by taking the time to understand what makes them tick, you can help to build their self-motivation and inner-drive. Set an example yourself, and allow your children to face the consequences for their lack of effort,
Your aim should always be to develop your child so that they want to accomplish necessary tasks themselves. This is rather than by having to force them to do everything through punishments or rewards.
What has helped to motivate your child? Do you have any neat tricks you can share in the comments below?