Newborns are born with a built-in radar system, aptly named—intrinsic motivation.
The Deliberative Mind said,
“Motivation is what moves you to go after something you want to have.”
A few weeks ago, I held my friend’s adorable granddaughter, three-month-old, Isla.
Cousin Ella squeezed a plastic giraffe. When the toy squeaked, Isla was Intrinsically motivated to turn her head, and then she reached for the toy. While reading a book to Ella and her brother, baby Isla leaned forward, and then focused on wiggly, glass puppy eyes. (Look closely and you’ll notice the book resting against my knee).
Babies and young children don’t have long attention spans. But engaged in an activity they love, a motivated child will strive to complete the task. Tread lightly though. A child who performs an activity simply to please an adult is motivated by extrinsic rewards, and soon their interest will wan.
Matilda and I came up with 5 ways to stimulate your child’s intrinsic need to succeed:
- Present age appropriate activities
Yeah, stock up on picture books, building blocks, crayons and coloring books.
- Give your child ample time to work on the task at hand.
Don’t tell them five minutes later they need to stop what they’re doing because you’ve got to run errands, or that you need another nap.
- Teach them to persevere
Get down on your hands and knees, and engage in the activity with your
- Encourage them
Don’t go overboard and demand they complete the task your way. Good grief! Let kids be kids!
- Reward their efforts
Hold on! Ask your child, “How do you feel now that your project is all done?”
Matilda’s correct, again. Only then, reward your child’s effort with praise.
Boy, I’m good!
If you follow these simple suggestions, your child will not only be intrinsically motivated, but you’ll have taught them how to foster a positive attitude, and you’ll have prepared them to embark on an adventure that will last a lifetime.
“To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” Tony Dorsett
How did your parents or teachers motivate you to succeed?
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