5 Ways to Keep Your Children Motivated

In his book ‘drive’, Daniel Pink divides motivators into 2 categories, ‘extrinsic’, such as money and other tangible forms of rewards, and ‘intrinsic’, where one does things based on their own, internal ‘drive’. He is of the opinion that while extrinsic motivators are great for linear, simple tasks, over reliance on this will eventually backfire, causing one to become unmotivated.

Although the book is largely a self-help book, part of his book also talks about parenting. He has also put up a list of ‘to dos’ in his book, to help parents nurture intrinsic motivation in their children. Here are 5 of his suggestions:

  1. Make your children see homework in a different light:
    – offer them autonomy over when and how to the work,
    – only do work that promotes mastery,
    – and make sure your child understands the purpose behind doing the work.
  2. Have a day every week where the child is free to explore and do whatever they want, without any restrictions.
  3. Make DIY report cards. School report cards are usually result-oriented, which cause the children to focus on getting results rather than the learning process. Make your own report cards based on the learning goals instead.
  4. Don’t bribe your child to do tasks. You can give your kids an allowance and also some chores, but don’t combine them. Your child will keep asking for rewards if you constantly associate tasks with rewards.
  5. Praise strategies:
    – Praise your child for the effort and strategy used to solve problems, not intelligence.
    – Only praise when there is a good reason for it.
    – Make sure your praises specific, a simple ‘good job’ is insufficient.
    – Praise should be given in private, not publicly.

For more about this, check out his book ‘Drive‘.



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