How to motivate a Child
Some technics to motivate a Child.
This weekend I did a walk
with my family, it was in France, in the Vosges (Northeast of France) and the start of the walk was a bit hard, going up and up, during a good kilometer or more.
So relatively quickly my 5 years old son slowed down.
I tried to motivate him, using all my knowledge.
1) First off, I explained exactly what I wanted him to do. “Eric, can you go a bit quicker, you have to move your legs quicker until we are back with the group”. I know it sounds stupid, but I have noticed that if I say something like “we have to hurry up”, the message sometimes is not clear enough. Always give a clear message.
Well, it helped for 5 minutes.
2) Then, I tried explaining that the time of effort is limited. “soon it is going to be easier, we will go down the hill”
It did not work out, we went slower.
3) After that, I tried to motivate him by finding different reasons, why he should continue and be a bit faster…. “you can play with your cousins in front, we will drink a very cold water or coke or whatever..etc. We are going to lose the group if he continues with this rhythm”
It did not help, he started to cry.
4) At that point, I tried appealing to his positive emotions and I did come out with his successes, “can you remember, last time you did so well? You were so proud of yourself….” This strategy had a very short effectiveness, it worked only momentarily, the motivation dropped again.
5) Then, I offered to share the task, I took his hand to pull and push him a bit, but the teamwork didn’t really work out. He took advantage to do less and less until one of his cousins started to carry him. Which was not a long-term solution.
So what else? I know that fear and threat can be a motivation, but it is not really my style.
And then something happened.
We offered that Eric takes the responsibility of the dog. A miracle!
Eric started to run, laugh, he was full of energy again and was leading the group.
Indeed, all my attempts had failed to pique his interest. Without any interest, his energy level was low.
This new idea grabbed his attention, gave him a challenge, something to focus on, his energy level was very high, and lasted a long time.
Happy child, happy mum, happy dog.