Teaching Tuesdays: Motivation

Every child is different. We all know it, but do we really believe it in more than just a theory?

I Home School, so I have seen just how different my children’s learning styles are. Litte P and Little E started Kindergarten the same year, and wow. They are so different, it is unreal. Little E learned how to write his name at 3, and Little P was still struggling at 6. Little E loved to draw and color as soon as he was able to hold a crayon, Little P would scribble for 2 seconds and yell “Done!”

So how do you motivate them? If you push something too hard it can become a battleground and then no one really wins. The parent is frustrated, the child is confused, and no one learns anything. Parenting is not about control, it is about teaching our children to be a self controlled, successful person. Yet, how can you judge success? Shouldn’t it be different for each person?

Sometime it can be tricky. Little P for example seems impossible to motivate in school work.  He can sit twirling his pencil, or retracing the same word forever!

So now the big question, how do I motivate the one who doesn’t want to be motivated?

  • Be Smart
Not every battle is worth the fight. Sometimes a child pushes back just to push and have control over something. Pick your battles wisely. Is it really a big deal if they colour the dog blue when they are 2? Choose what is worth fighting. Keep in mind, bad habits are harder to break the longer they are kept. It is worth woking hard on pencil holding and hand position while writing. It may not be worth fighting every battle. Ask your self if this is a potential bad habit, or just a phase.
  • Be Encouraging

Compliment your child. Blue dog? How imaginative! Children are sponges. The absorb everything we put in them, so lets fill them up with the good stuff, and they have no need to absorb the bad.

  • Be Rewarding

Everyone likes to work for something. Try sticker charts, coins for their piggy banks, or even TV time. Use what works for your child. Stickers worked great for Little E, and Little P could care less. What motivates him is hearing the words “good job sweetie!” Pay attention to what excites your child, and incorporate that in their rewards. 

  • Be Loving

It sounds easy, but some days it is hard to show. When you struggling to explain the it is important to hold a pencil right, or why we have to colour in the lines, it is easier to scream than smile. It’s ok. Smile, and take a break. The love is what they will remember. Breaks are just as much for mom as for the child!

  • Be Easy On Yourself

Taking the time to work with your child is hard work, whether it’s home schooling or public school, teaching is hard, and draining. It’s ok to be human. You will make mistakes. Go easy on your self. You will be more effective if you have confidence in your self. It’s true what they say: Children can smell fear! Well, maybe not literally, but they will take notice of uncertainty, or insecurity. Trust your instincts. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a person.


  1. Thanks for the tips, I have an 8-yr old who’s having some problems at school, and I think this will help!

  2. Trusting our instincts im all for that, thank you for the good refreshing info.

  3. So true and great tips!
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