How to motivate a child who is unmotivated

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During a PTA meeting, a child psychologist gave an interactive lecture on ‘Motivating Your Children’. The air was charged with excitement. Everyone scribbled down notes, excited to learn how to motivate a child who is unmotivated.

how to motivate a child who is unmotivated

Motivation requires patience, love and care

At the end of the lecture, members of the audience were invited to ask questions. Most of the questions went along the lines of:

• Why is my child reluctant to do schoolwork?
• How can I convince my child to see that gaming is an addictive distraction that can ruin her life?
• I don’t understand why she’s lazy. How can I get her to tackle school and housework with excitement?
• But seriously, I want to know how to motivate a child who is unmotivated.
Before she answered these questions, she encouraged parents to see things from the child’s point of view.

Seeing the world from your child’s point of view

“Sometimes, these children are just discouraged. You have no idea what these kids are dealing with at school,” said Kasie Jideofo, A child psychologist at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus. “Kids are sometimes stuck in foul moods and they don’t even understand why they’re worried or sad.”

If guardians took the time to listen to their children, they’ll probably make progress with their quest to motivate the child. Sometimes children get frustrated with the stress of schoolwork. Some of them feel overwhelmed by the work they are expected to complete. Often they are scared that their efforts might not pay off.

Rather than judge your child, it is better to learn how to motivate a child who is unmotivated.

“What parents refer to as ‘not caring’ is just a cry for help. Your discouraged children are probably seeking comfort in immersing themselves in activities that require little or no effort,” said Kasie Jideofo.

How to motivate a child who is unmotivated

1. Develop the child’s internal motivation

Parents can help their children build and strengthen a sense of internal motivation. Effective ways of doing this are through:

• Highlighting the child’s sense of control
• Developing the child’s self-esteem
• Helping the child believe in his/her critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

“As a mother, this tip worked for me. I wonder why no one taught me this as a child psychology major,” said Kasie Jideofo, “Building the child’s sense of self-worth is an effective motivation strategy.”

2. Break the child’s cycle of disappointment or failure

When children experience many cycles of failure in school, they become demoralized.

To motivate the student, teachers or parents can plan good academic experiences. Give the child tasks that are within the child’s areas of strength. Successfully finishing tasks tend to motivate children into wanting to do more work.

“If he or she makes mistakes, encourage them to try again. After all, failing is part of the learning process,” said Kasie Jideofo.

3. Integrate the child’s interests into outside-the-classroom learning activities

If you can, talk to the teacher about integrating parts of the child’s interests into lessons. For instance, if the child enjoys storytelling, the teacher can ask the child to read aloud in class or give summaries of literary texts.

However, the parent must also be creative during homework sessions. Use relatable stories when presenting abstract problems. While solving mathematics, for instance, the parent can ask the child how much money one video game would cost, if 5 video games cost x-dollars.

Artsy students can also be invited to decorate the classroom or the living room at home. Find ways to highlight the child’s talent so that they wouldn’t feel that school isn’t just ‘worth it’.

how to motivate a child who is unmotivated

Encourage the child to play up her talents

4. Show the children the real-life relevance of each lesson

During the PTA meeting, teachers were encouraged to show their students the application of each theorem.

“Most students feel they’ve been deceived and deliberately swamped with irrelevant information,” said Kasie Jideofo. “Teachers have a duty to explain the application of every abstract theory in real life. If they’re learning about electromotors or conductors, let them know that the knowledge is relevant in building electronic devices such as video games and smartphones.”

Schools can also plan excursions to factories, parks and other inspiring destinations that can keep the children motivated.

5. Divide schoolwork into convenient chunks

Most demotivated children are simply overwhelmed by the large volume of work.
Teachers should break lessons into manageable topics so that the students won’t feel overwhelmed.

“Introduce more difficult topics only if the student has grasped the simpler lessons. Move at the child’s pace,” advised Kasie Jideofo. Parents should make homework interesting by encouraging kids to solve the simpler aspects. Patiently teach him or her to solve the most difficult parts. This way, the child will be eager to learn.

Knowing how to motivate a child who is unmotivated isn’t rocket science. With the tips on our list, you can help your child make progress both in school and at home.

Resource: ASCD.org 

Also Read: 5 ways you’re teaching your child about sex and don’t know it

Written by

Julie Adeboye