As children grow from the infancy stage to toddlerhood and preschool phases, their ability to do things by themselves with little or no involvement from parents also increases. Whether it is learning, play-time, socialising or simply managing everyday chores, children fall at a stage where they can be trained to do things independently. It is also at that very age when children may sometimes get bored with what they are doing, find it difficult to focus completely and sometimes for no good reason just get angry and cranky.
In the process of making children independent, parents should also pay enough attention to create a sense of being there for them actively and observe them keenly. We as parents do get some time to breathe as children touch their three year mark. However, even a slight indifference on the part of parents leaving the children to be on their own because they are able to manage things independently may result in the child feeling lonely, dejected, bored and most importantly unmotivated.
There are always new things to take care of when it comes to parenting whether the child is an infant or whether he is in teens. One of the most important things for any person to be able to enjoy any activity that he takes up and to keep striving to be the best in it is the drive or motivation for it. Motivation is one of the things that can be inculcated in a child at a very early age. As children grow, parents can teach them on how to consciously motivate oneself and stay motivated. It will be one of the most valuable lessons in life for a child.
Motivation comes in the form of the everyday tasks that you share with your children, the words you use with them, the way you treat them and the way you behave as a person. Some of the things that can be taken care of in early years that can help in building motivation for your children are –
Do not nag, show reason: Often children, like adults, will show resistance to doing mundane tasks like cleaning up toys and keeping things in place. Discipline is very important but it is also important that we explain everything with reason. Mere repetition would not really help instead realization would. It is very important that we use reason to convey an effect vs just using words that make it sound like we are nagging. Reasoning out things would help children think and they would learn to associate reason with other areas as well.
Show genuine appreciation: When a child is doing well with his tasks, whether it is during play-time, learning something new or may be even just playing a good listener, show appreciation for it. Show genuine appreciation for the task accomplished or attempted instead of praising the person. This appreciation for tasks will lead the child to understand the logic and meaning of a task well done and make him strive for better when there is a scope for improvement.
Set a congenial atmosphere: When it comes to motivation, as much as the care taken during the time the child stays at home, it is also important to pay attention to the other children, teachers, school and other activities he is exposed to. When looking to put your child in a structured activity, it is also important to understand where the teacher, peers and general environment stand in terms of motivating the child to become better everyday. A healthy atmosphere should be inspiring, energising and motivating rather than pressurising and stressful. Such an environment can go a long way in setting the foundation for success and a sense of purpose in life.
Teach them to compete with themselves: It is a well known fact that any place that is considered to be the best of its kind also comes with people who are highly ambitious and driven to succeed. It is very important that a child should not feel pressurised to be his best and succumb to peer pressure. Healthy competition is good but constantly comparing your child with this peers and criticising them may lead to poor self-esteem. It is essential for parents to realize and to make their children realize that competition should always be with oneself. Parents should make a conscious attempt to train their children to improve themselves and become better at what they do rather than comparing their success with their peers’ and setting that as a bench-mark.
Be an example: With all said and done, ultimately children look up to their parents for everything. Nothing could be more motivating to the children than the parents and environment at home. We as parents should also make efforts to stay active, enthusiastic and motivated. Achieving and practicing what we want to do ourselves instead of realizing it through the children can be really inspiring. This will not only help us personally but also creates a strong positive influence on the children.
So, how are you motivating your child today? Leave in your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.
Tejaswini is a mom to a lovely one and half year old girl, from Hyderabad, presently living in the US. She is an engineer in IT, by profession. A newbie blogger, photography and painting enthusiast, internet junkie, she enjoys reading and discovering nature when she is not running after her now naughty toddler. She is a dreamer and dreams of being a super-woman excelling at both work and home fronts, doing equal justice to both, someday. She has a personal blog at http://acacaphonyofmiscellany.blogspot.com/