Ideas for Stimulating Motivation
(when all else fails and you feel you simply must to stay sane!)
by Beverley Paine, 2005
- Build entertainment into the learning task. This is a very popular method, but children soon see through it and tire of it quickly. Educational toys and games, television programs, gimmicky books, all aimed at entertaining as well as educating, have short lives in most homes. They sit on shelves for years after the first flush of interest has worn off.
- Pretend to be keenly interested yourself. I have done this on occasion only to be surprised by a growing interest developing in myself in a subject I have picked up to encourage my children to learn!
- Engage in the activity as a personal interest, and invite them to join you if they look interested. This works well for art, writing poetry, science explorations, etc. The children are often curious, and like to work with me, although sometimes I am careful not to produce exceptional work they would use to compare their own against and feel inadequate.
- Offer incentives - such as bribes, rewards, certificates, stickers, playing time, etc. At times I have used charts to keep a record of lessons done, and rewarded at the end of the week. I liked the charting idea as it introduced a maths concept into the home! Children work well with this system provided it is not overdone and kept in balance with other more meaningful motivational factors.
- My favourite method of motivating my children is for me to be excited about learning, and model motivation. I am forever asking questions - my favourite is 'why is it so?' and leave the answer to the universe - often my children jump to the encyclopaedia or bookshelf to find out.
- When faced with having to work I don't want to do I question the necessity of doing it - if I still need to do it, then I do it quickly and efficiently in order to free my time up to do other things I prefer to do. This modelling is essential in developing a good work ethic.
- Work socially - get help. The enthusiasm of a group working together is a great motivator. I help my children to do their work and they help me. This alleviates motivational problems, in many areas. We network with other families to do activities we find we don't have a great deal of motivation for alone, but still want to do.
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