The thing parents need to understand most is that an unmotivated child might be a kid who is either scared or is trying to take back control from situations that they find intimidating. Inaction in itself is an action: a choice. Your child is choosing to not be motivated and there must be a reason behind it; perhaps s/he will get the incentives you're offering regardless of their behavior, or perhaps they just can't be bothered. Often kids might come across as unmotivated or lazy, but the simple truth is there is something holding them back.
How to Motivate Your Child
One of the easiest ways to motivate an unmotivated child is by employing effective consequences, these can work both ways – to motivate your kids to do well and to discourage them from doing badly. The best thing about using effective consequences is you can just use things you are already giving your child to motivate them, instead of having to buy new treats or investing more money into their behavior.
It's important that you isolate things of considerable importance for your child to use as effective consequences, some examples of common effective consequences include:
- Use of Cell Phone
- Pocket Money/ Allowance
- Visitations with friends
- Access to a Car
- TV/Game Privileges
- Internet/Computer Access
- Hair Straighteners/Make Up for Girls
- Access to Toys
You will know which of these privileges hold the most value for your young one and it is important that you pick a few that motivate your child the most. These can be used both as positive consequences; i.e. access is dependent on good behavior and negative consequences i.e. access is restricted by bad behavior.
Motivating Your Child With a Home Contract
Another great way to motivate your child to act appropriately is with a home contract. Part of the problem of parenting is the fact that we, as parents, can often be unintentionally inconsistent with what we say, how we react and what consequences we give our kids based on their good and bad behavior. This makes it very difficult for a child to anticipate what the likely outcome from a situation will be.
By creating a home contract for your family, you are clearly outlining the consequences, good and bad, for your child's behavior. You also outline all the rules and regulations of the home so that s/he is aware of what is important in order for them to continue getting their usual every day privileges. Home contracts work really well because they clearly set limits and remove all ambiguity, which is helpful for kids who might be confused by ever changing home rules.
Using a Home Contract alongside effective consequences is perhaps the most effective way to motivate your child and ensure that they are complying with your expectations.
Are you ready to implement a home contract into your home? If you have tried before what has worked for your family and what didn't work?