Motivating Your Child

Let's Define Motivation

Dictionary.com defines motivation as “the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way” which, as most of us know, is an important factor in our day-to-day lives. We are motivated to eat a hearty meal if we are hungry, or sleep when we are tired. We are motivated to wake up and get working for either the joy of hard work or the joy of a satisfying paycheck. Perhaps we are motivated to shed a few unwanted pounds, so we hit the gym or take a walk. A strong motivation is a character trait usually matched by self-discipline, and both can be tools utilized to complete mediocre everyday tasks, or life-changing ones. It can make or break our plans, and oftentimes we can be motivated to make decisions by other people. People who motivate can be a strong force, or a brutal hurdle in life. 

At Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep, we truly understand that passionate learning is the key to success, and we implement strategies in every tutoring session to ensure that we are properly motivating our students to achieve all they can. Our tutors are motivating individuals and carefully monitored in their performance so we can see marked progression in our students. 

To be motivating is a skill that people often learn in social situations. It is instilled in us as children by our parents to eat the right foods, or to walk, babble, learn – you name it! Parents are our first teachers and model what motivation looks like. In fact, we can argue that most (if not ALL) of our actions are the direct result of either an internal or external motivation. The reason behind our motives can provide a helpful look into the psyche of what makes us human. Why are we motivated – love, pain, success? Who are we motivating in return? Is a desired outcome our central wheel, or is the desired outcome of another our motivation? Just as identifying why we are motivated is important, identifying how we can motivate is similarly important. A lack of motivation from figures in powerful positions in our lives can hurt us, but even a little nudge from those people can become a huge benefit. 

So, how can we be sure that we are correctly motivating others (namely, our children) in a positive way?

Motivation - Does it come naturally for us?

Perhaps this video from a TEDx talk from Jennifer Nacif can help shed some light on our natural inclination for personal motivation, and can help us see how we can motivate others. 

Clearly, the answer is a resounding yes. We are always personally motivated to accomplish our goals. Now, identifying those goals is essential in whether our motivation is wasted. That’s a personal journey – what we are going to talk about more in-depth is how you, as a parent, can motivate your child when he or she just doesn’t seem interested.

Why it's HARD to motivate others

If you watched the video above, you heard some solid reasons as to why it can be hard to motivate others. Just some of the difficulties can be boiled down to:

  • The way in which you suggest information in your tone of voice, body language, and presentation can impact results
  • The audience must be receptive to your attempts to motivate
  • You must know your audience very well

You know your child better than anyone else, and you must identify character traits within him or her which will respond to your attempts to motivate. 

Does your child thrive on Fortnite? Perhaps he or she is social or analytical (or maybe both) and struggles with short-term pleasures. If this is the case, the child needs to understand broader, long-term goals. And it won’t be easy to motivate your child away from the gaming console – and we wish that we could tell you exactly how to motivate your child to finish his homework on time – but the truth is that you know how to motivate him. You just need to spend some time identifying his character traits to better formulate your methods of motivation.

Motivation as a second nature

Do you, as a parent, find it hard to be motivated sometimes? Physician, heal thyself. When your child sees you model self-discipline, he or she will likely follow suit. Some methods to implement motivating techniques are as follows:

  • Identify outcomes
    • Did your child procrastinate on homework last week and then had to stay up all hours of the night to finish it? Review the outcome in that situation with your child. Ask if it was fun, and you’ll likely get a hearty “no!” 
  • Establish routine
    • A child will be motivated to work with you when he or she can trust in you – if you have a routine established for homework, then keep it! If you have a habit of allowing playtime after dinner, then play! A child thrives on routine habits, and learning time can be established just as much as junk food and Fortnite. Provide ample time for both hard work and play and stick to your guns when it comes to setting hard times for homework. Consistency is key.
  • Talk, talk, talk!
    • Providing your child a safe space to talk about whatever they want to will allow you to hear what motivates them. Where is your child’s heart? What are his or her dreams? Fitting in homework can be a step in the direction of accomplishing your child’s dream job. 
  • Make it fun
    • Whatever it is that you want your child to do, from cleaning the bathroom to acing that math test, making learning fun and rewarding hard effort is a beautiful way to encourage children. We all thrive on encouragement! Focus on the good results, and don’t harp on the wrong – your child’s character strengths are what you can build upon when motivating your child in the right direction.
  • Learn!
    • Personal growth is always an option. At Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep, we want to help equip our students and parents with resources which will help them succeed. Here’s a list of our favorite books to help you get on track of motivation:
      • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
      • Don’t Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor
      • Addiction, Procrastination, and Laziness: A Proactive Guide to the Psychology of Motivation by Roman Gelperin
      • What Great Teachers Do Differently: 17 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker

And lastly, we at Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep want to see you succeed in motivating your child to be the best he or she can be! We will work one-on-one with your student to not only grasp content knowledge, but to also implement strategies for test taking and general studying skills. Multiple resources of information can be found on our Core Subjects and Helpful Resources page.

Would you, or your student, benefit from our academic services offered in Austin, Dallas, South and Central Texas? Contact us today to receive information regarding our SAT Test Prep. Curious about what we offer in addition to SAT Test Prep tutoring? Click here to visit our website at www.plantingseedstutoring.com. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com.

Do you or your student require tutoring in another subject? Please check out our list of Core Subjects to find out what we offer. Additionally, visit our blog to keep up with new and exciting content, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.