Keep it going, part 2

By Enid Westerlund 14 September 2023, 12:00PM

Good morning! Let’s continue to discuss ways to motivate our children as we head towards the end of 2023. Soon, ‘Jingle bells’ will be on and prize giving for schools will be around the corner, where those who’ve studied hard will be rewarded and those who relaxed in the breeze disappoint their parents.

1. Create a Supportive Environment. In order for children to thrive, they need the right kind of environment and not just for academic purposes but to allow them to learn and grow as individuals. This starts in the home. This is the foundation of all learning and where they spend most of their time.

It is also in the home that the most influence comes from initially. It is not complicated to provide the necessities for any child.

Food, medical care, hygiene and other essentials are part of this. Foster an environment where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities rather than failures. Encourage them to try new things without fearing criticism. Like any good thing, the more we do it, the easier it gets.

2. Lead by Example: Children often mimic their parents’ behaviour. As parents, we can preach all we want but if we are not walking the talk, there is no use. Our guidelines and rules will fall on deaf ears if we are doing the opposite of what we teach.

Demonstrate a strong work ethic, perseverance, and a positive attitude to inspire them to do the same.

3. Encourage Perseverance: Teach them the value of persistence and resilience. Discuss stories of people who faced challenges and setbacks but eventually achieved success through their determination. Every superhero has a challenge in the beginning. For instance, the super hero losing their parent to a heinous crime (Batman, Spiderman) or world ending challenge (Superman), some obstacle they had to endure and overcome to become the hero.

4. Provide Authority: Allow your child to make choices and decisions, within reasonable limits. This sense of independence helps them feel in control of their actions and fosters self-motivation. Autonomy is important at any age, the same is applicable to adults too. We have to be responsible for our own choices and ac6ons. For every action there is a consequence. Self-motivation is something that drives us when the weather is not favourable, when the conditions are hard, when winter overseas is too cold and when the challenges are present. The ability to go through the valleys is a skill we must all master.

5. Use Intrinsic Motivation: Help your child find internal reasons for pursuing tasks or activities. Cultivate their interests and passions, as intrinsic motivation is more enduring than external rewards. Children can understand why they should be a good human, why they have to study hard, for their own future and no one else’s. Yes, we want them to succeed and help their family but first, they have to own and work towards that success for themselves.

6. Make Learning Fun: Find creative ways to make learning enjoyable. Incorporate games, hands on activities, and interactive experiences to spark their curiosity and keep them engaged.

7. Offer Rewards Wisely: While external rewards like treats or privileges can work temporarily, it’s important to transition from tangible rewards to intrinsic motivations over time. Use rewards sparingly and ensure they are tied to effort and achievement.

Whether it is a cupcake or a restaurant outing, a flight to New Zealand with pocket money or a brand new car, any reward is nice but internal motivation and drive is more important in the long run.

While we spend the afternoon in this heat and wanting another coffee fix, remember that children learn in different ways. Just because the oldest genius is great at Math, doesn’t mean the rest will follow. Putting unrealistic expectations on our children without providing the right environment and the right tools is unfair.

They’ll turn around and ask “Did you get straight A’s in and did you top your class when you were in school?”.

By Enid Westerlund 14 September 2023, 12:00PM
Samoa Observer

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