How to genuinely help motivate our kids

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To motivate our kids, we need to look at all the ways we could kindle, not dampen, the fires of motivation within them.

We parents have high hopes for our kids. We would do everything to keep them inspired for learning, for achievement, and for success in life. We want them to grow up equipped with everything they need to have for a better life.

But, then, despite our best intentions, we would still find many of them to be less motivated. It has become one of our biggest concerns as parents. But how do we, in fact, motivate our children?

How are we going to solve such a dilemma?

Try interacting with some of these kids and you would be struck by their great expectations for the future. Kids are, naturally, day-dreamers and they come to believe what they are capable of imagining.

Some kids would find it most interesting to gain fame and fortune as movie stars. Some would try to make a name for themselves like a career in sports, wanting to be great boxers like Manny Pacquiao or to represent their country in the Olympics.

Others would love to seek adventure and travel, in a hope to go around the world and learn other cultures and languages. You’d find some of their dreams to be fanciful, like wanting to climb Mount Everest, or to jump off a plane at an altitude of ten thousand feet.

And, yet, you’d find out more of these children’s hopes are serious. One would be staring at you straight in the eye to declare: “I would stop all drugs!” Another one would say: “I would make lots of money so that when I became rich I would help the poor and the homeless.”

To motivate our kids, we need to be looking at all the ways we could kindle, instead of dampening, the fires of motivation within them. We could nurture such a precious spark within each child starting right from our home. Then we could try spreading it outside our home, into such areas as schooling, life, chores, and responsibilities.

We should be making sure that communication lines between us and our kids are open, because it is one way to boost learning and motivation. When parents and children are warmly interested in each other and their activities, to quote from author Dorothy Corkille Briggs, when children feel safe to share ideas and feelings, intellectual growth is stimulated.

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Here’s why you should stop pressuring your little ones to do well in school and in everything

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Nathaniel poses with his mom before the camera.

Every parent wants their kids to do well in school and in everything. There’s nothing wrong about it as long as you know well your child’s ability and limitation. Pressuring your kids to do something beyond their limits may do more harm than good.

You have to be careful not to push them too hard while, at the same time, not getting too passive. It’s a balancing act. Preschoolers are usually the ones who would be most affected with pressure since they’re yet struggling to learn everything.

Preschool and kindergarten learning programs are emphasized or focused on formal instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic which gave parents the confidence that this early foundation could bring about a head start in school for their children. It is normal for parents to be so anxious in giving their son or daughter the best possible educational beginning. They were very eager for their children to succeed in school, guitar and piano lessons, basketball, volleyball, and other extra-curricular activities.

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My Madonna and Child.

But this must all be done with precautions though. Otherwise, they’re risking the chance of having their little ones to get exhausted from lessons and activities whether before, during, and after school. A competitive, overly academic school system, which placed lots of emphasis on worksheets and tests and not enough on hands-on activities and concrete learning could lead to kids’ having to feel burned out. This is due to the fact that kids would be prone to stress when there’s only little time for play, exploring their own interests, and the art of developing friendships.

In the realistic sense of it, high aspiration may only obstruct one from achieving something or failure to achieve academic performance. Parents should bear in mind that to simply raise aspiration couldn’t be an effective solution in improving success in education. In fact, in some cases, too much parental aspiration could be disastrous.

It’s about time parents should realize the fact that some of the behavioral issues they’re struggling with are a result of the pressure that lots of kids now feel. They should stop, out of fear of not doing enough for their kids, churning out anxious and depressed children. Parental success is not measured on exam grades alone, but, most importantly, in the happiness and security of every child.

Ten things you can do to motivate your children to learn about the world

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Nathaniel and company.

Learning about the world is something not limited to what has been taught in schools. Children, regardless of age, race, nationality, gender, culture, and creed can be motivated to learn about the location of countries, oceans, continents, states, rivers, and capital cities if there’s a reason for them to do so. It may be because they have someone they know from another country like a friend or a relative, for example, because their family is showing interest in people and cultures in other parts of the world, or because they were able to read about other nationalities. In that sense, social studies or geography would cease to become just a bunch of meaningless, unconnected facts that they have to learn by rote.

As a parent, you should be giving your kids a variety of experiences. To show an interest in other nations and nationalities and keeping abreast of world events and international affairs, before your children, they will come to grow up with a wider knowledge of the world and a greater awareness and appreciation of different cultures. Below are ten things you can do to motivate your children to learn about the world:

  • Watch travel programs on TV with your kids and you may explain to them what you learn about the country that was being featured to the best of your ability.
  • Use thumbtacks to a map the name or picture of relatives or friends who are visiting, moving to, or living in different parts of the country or the world.
  • Try placing a large map on the wall in the family room, the play room, or your child’s bedroom. You can never discount the fact that maps are a valuable resource in geographic study.
  • Give your children the permission to browse the Internet resources to learn about the world. In other words, let them google it.
  • Try using laminated maps so you can write on them or plot the route of a trip with a washable marker which you can erase it later.
  • At least once in a while, take your children and your spouse to an ethnic restaurant, or treat your children to ethnic snacks at a folk festival. Try learning to cook different ethnic foods so your family will be introduced to the different tastes of other people.
  • If you can buy soft, stuffed globes in bright colors that your younger children can play with or use as pillows, the much better.
  • Try to be creative by equipping your child’s room with wooden and cardboard puzzles of the Philippines and other countries of the world. You can try manipulating a piece and to talk about the place it represents and the products coming from that area.
  • Encourage your kids to read magazines, books, and historical and illustrated story books. Publications like the World by the National Geographic and Discover by Family Media, Inc. are highly recommended.
  • Try thinking of games that can help children learn about the world. You may choose any of these popular games like World Traveler, Trip Around the World, Where in the World? and many more.

Some thoughts on how to bring out the best in your kids

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My wife created this artwork herself for our son Nathaniel. She sometimes uses artwork as one way of motivating our son by telling him inspiring stories based on the drawing.

The keyword is “motivation” because, whether you agree with it or not, every child is motivated by something. But the big question mark is, as a parent, how do you motivate your kids? Or, to use a paraphrase, what you can do to bring out the best in them?

In motivating children, it is of great importance for the parents to identify the areas in which their kids are achieving. It is about establishing and maintaining what is high but realistic expectations in the first place. You have to make an honest assessment about your children. You have to fully understand every little facet of their personality, temperament, and capabilities.

BE THE OPTIMISTIC PERSON YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR KIDS

Parents play a big part in sustaining, encouraging, and providing their children with a sense of a healthy perspective of the world, life, and of everything. Of course, you may fail in this particular area as a parent but you have to do something and prove to yourself that even in your mistakes you can be a good role model. Your willingness to admit your own faults and learn from them is what matters.

Sometimes, while trying to be helpful to your children, you reveal your true expectations through negative suggestions and this can destroy their motivation while yet in its budding stage. Once you are suggesting something negative, it was a prelude to negative thinking. Negative thinking, as often the case, breeds negative behavior.

By simply replacing the negatives with encouraging thoughts and expressions, you are doing the right thing that allows them to have a healthy view of themselves. You don’t have to excessively push them beyond their limits just so they can have the things you want them to achieve for themselves. Instead, help them to understand that, in every new experience they encounter, mistakes or a failure are a natural part of the process of learning, growth, and life.

PARENTING IS EVEN MORE THAN JUST WHAT IT TAKES NURTURING A CHILD

You may have asked yourself about it several times already and you would only get a lot of related answers. What, in fact, is parenting? It is the process by which a mom or a dad raise his or her children from infancy to adulthood. These are being expressed in a form of commitment, unconditional love, responsibility, sacrifice, or a combination of all of these things and many more.

Sure, taking care of your children in your own best way possible answers it once and for all. But there is something more to parenting than just like that.

It is not enough that you are just a parent who will do everything for the best of your children. It is not enough that you’re making successful individuals out of them, something you can be most proud of as a parent. It is not enough about you bringing out the best in your kids.

Parenting is about building a relationship with your children that can stand the test of time. It is about learning to love them unconditionally in such a way that it is also about learning to let go when all they want is independence and can stand on their own two feet. It is, above all, raising your children to leave you.

IMPORTANT REMINDER

It is not the purpose of this writing to mislead everyone into thinking that a parent-child relationship is simply predictable.  It is not to suggest that it is too complicated either. Bringing out the best in your kids is not about blaming parents for the difficulties their children may be having.

It is rather aimed at helping parents understand who they are, discover their children’s greatest potentials, while, at the same time, harnessing their parenting skills. Of course, it is to follow within the context of an informed awareness of how children usually grow. One of the best ways parents can support their children is by validating how they feel about themselves, who they are, and what they can do.