Motivating Your Child

Some tips for success

Posted Mar 19, 2013

Have you ever wondered if there's a way to get your child to do his homework without the usual hassles? Or perhaps you wish your child would pitch in with some help around the house instead of acting like you're the maid. Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to motivate your child.  Remember, that while these principles will go a long way toward helping you and your child, sometimes parenting is more of an art than a science. 

Focus on One Behavior at a Time

An important key to success is to select one, specific behavior to focus on at a time. Trying to change too many things at once will overwhelm you and your child and dilute both your efforts. For example, if you're going to work on encouraging your child to read more, don't add on a lot of household chores at the same time.

Avoid Criticism

It can be difficult not to lapse into criticism when we see our children doing something we know they shouldn't be doing. However, criticism usually doesn't work and can backfire in that it can erode self-confidence. Sometimes you might not even realize you're being critical.

Consider the difference in these approaches:

Direction: Pick up your books.

Criticism: Why do you always throw your books down on the floor when you come in the door?

Positive comment: Thank you for putting your books on the table.

Here are some other examples of how to talk effectively to your kids (and what mistakes to avoid).  

A good rule of thumb:

If you must correct your child for a negative behavior, try to praise him several more times for doing something right before he has the chance to misbehave again. This will require you to tune into positive things going on in the home and in your relationship with your child. One way to do this is to keep a good behavior diary. In a spiral notebook, jot down anything positive you notice about your child. Tell her, "This one’s for the book."

Reward Small Steps Toward Success

Behavior doesn't change overnight, so remember to be patient. You need to focus on the steps made in the right direction. Especially in the beginning of any behavior change program, rewards need to be given often. If the child has to wait a week for any reinforcement, the plan is bound to fail. Consider giving small, immediate rewards as well as points for a longer – term reward.

When a new behavior is being developed make it easy to earn a reward each day. Later you can phase out daily rewards. And naturally, the eventual goal is for the new behavior to be reinforcing, and it of itself.

Give Yourself Credit

Raising kids is wonderful, but it can also be a tough job. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. And neither does your child.  

  

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Shyness is nice and
 shyness can stop you
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 you’d like to.


–Ask, by The Smiths

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