Happy parents raise happy kids

Motivating Kids (1)

Many times, I hear the question "How do you motivate kids to do things?" Most parents in the world would like to know the "magic tricks" of motivating their kids to succeed, to be friendly, to be healthy and happy. I guess it is part of having kids, that desire for them to be "in the zone", where everything is easy and gives a good feeling. In this sense, kids and their parents are exactly the same. Motivation has no age.

In my parenting classes, 100% of the participants want their kids to have love, success, friendships, confidence and happiness. All of the parents look for the formula they can use to help their kids get these things.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting about motivating kids, covering all aspects of motivations and how you, as a parent, can use each and every one of them to give your kids what you have always wanted to. With each post, I will also include tips, exercises and/or printable resources to help you on this exciting mission.

What is Motivation?

The first important thing to determine about motivation it the desired outcome.

"Do you want your kids to do something they want or something you want?"

The reason I am asking this is because the first options is motivating, but the other is not. If you want your kids to do something you want, you are trying to manipulate them and you need manipulation tricks. If you want to encourage your kids to do something they want, you are after motivation tricks. Many parents do not distinguish between the two. They feel that because they have "good intentions" they can mix between them, but manipulation is a formula for disastrous parent-child relationships.

Inspirational card

What do your kids want?

If you want to motivate your kids, the first thing you need to do is know what your kids want. The only way to know that is to ask. Many parents think they know what their kids want, but never ask. Some say they are too young, some say they do not know what they want and some are afraid their kids are too influenced by others, but the truth is your kids' desires are a key ingredient in their success in life, whether or not they are young, confused or highly influenced.

The task of finding out what your kids think and want is much easier when they are young. The reason I believe it is easier in the early years is because their imagination is not limited yet and they allow themselves to want grand things freely and express their desires and dreams.

When kids are young, you can have playing routines at dinner time, driving time, sleeping times, during which everyone gets a chance (and is encouraged) to express themselves.

Self expression is a very important skill that kids (and parents too) need to be happy and successful. The opposite of self expression is frustration, frustration, frustration and motivating a frustrated kid is one of the most challenging tasks for parents, being even harder with some age groups. When kids become teenagers after many years of not expressing themselves, it is a lot more challenging to start (albeit still possible). If you can, find out what your kids want before they reach frustration.

Some kids are very comfortable saying what they want. Most kids, however, do not know what they want - they are not sure, they are overwhelmed and they are more comfortable when prompted to answer questions. I have 3 kids - 1 boy and 2 girls - and their self expression is totally different from each other. There is no need to expect them to have the same level of self expression, because some of it has to do with their personality and communication style, but it is possible to encourage all kids, regardless of their personality type, to say what they want.

Inspirational card

Exercise

Here are some questions, originally posted in Self Esteem Mini-Course (part 16), which will help your kids get to know themselves and will help you get to know them. Remember, every answer here is valuable and if you ever want to motivate your kids to do something, you need to know what makes them tick.

Tips

  • Print a copy of the list for each of your family members, sit as a family and do it together.
  • Birthdays, New Year's Day, Holidays and special occasion like the first day of school, the last day of term or anything that can be considered a special occasion, are good opportunities to do it.
  • If you work on this list yourself, you are being the best role model.
  • Ask each other to share and start by sharing yours. Allow people to keep some answers private, but remember the private questions and find opportunities to talk about them later one-on-one.
  • Young kids who cannot read by themselves can do it together with Mom or Dad.
  • Young kids may find the list too long, so you can do parts of the list over several days or weeks.
  • Keep the list. It is awesome memorabilia. Pulling out your kid's list of dreams from age 5 on their 21st birthday can be both amazing and emotional.

Dreaming questions

  1. If I could learn anything I wanted, I would study…
  2. If I could go back in time, I would…
  3. If I had all the money I wanted, I would…
  4. If I could relive one event in life, it would be…
  5. If I could erase a moment in life, it would be…
  6. If I could meet one person, it would be…
  7. If I could wear anything I wanted, I would wear…
  8. If I could ask my parents one thing, I would ask…
  9. If I could say one thing to my parents, I would say…
  10. If I could tell the world one thing, it would be…
  11. If I could forget something, it would be…
  12. If I could change the world, I would…
  13. If I had to spend 1 million dollars in one week, I would spend it on…
  14. If I could eat anything I wanted, I would eat…
  15. If I could make someone else love me, it would be…
  16. If I could buy someone I love a gift, it would be…
  17. If I could look like any person I wanted, I would look like…
  18. If I could invent something, it would be…
  19. If I could have 3 wishes, they would be…
  20. If I were an animal, I would be…
  21. If I could visit any place in the world, I would visit…
  22. If I could win the noble prize, it would be for…
  23. If I could make a difference in the world, I would…
  24. If I could be famous, I would be famous for…
  25. If I needed one more chance, I would ask for…
  26. If I could meet the most inspiring person in the world, I would ask to meet…
  27. If I could be in any physical condition, I would…
  28. If I could have a chef cooking all my meals, I would ask the chef to…
  29. If I could choose one birthday party to repeat, it would be…
  30. If I could meet one friend from the past, it would be…
  31. If I could repeat one school year, it would be…
  32. If I could go to my favorite teacher and thank them, it would be…
  33. If there is one thing I am grateful for, it is…
  34. If there is one thing I do not want to lose, it is…
  35. If my house was on fire, the first thing I would save would be…
  36. If I could wake up in the morning knowing how to play a musical instrument, it would be…
  37. If I could write a book, it would be about…
  38. If I had my own plane, I would go to…
  39. If I could buy any gadget, I would buy…
  40. If I could be in any profession I wanted, I would be a…
  41. KingIf I could build any house I wanted, I would make it…
  42. If I could win a big prize, it would be…
  43. If I could win a big prize, I would spend it on…
  44. If I could make someone proud of me, it would be…
  45. If I were a king, I would…
  46. If I were a genie, I would…
  47. If time stood still, I would…
  48. If I could choose one thing that would make me the happiest, it would be…

In summary

  1. All parents want to motivate their kids
  2. Motivation is about encouraging your kids to do the things they want to do, not what their parents want
  3. In order to encourage your kids, find out what they want

Inspirational card

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  • Student

    mmm...a very useful post, thank you

  • http://www.ronitbaras.com/index.php/about/ Ronit Baras

    Hi student,

    I am happy you think it is useful.
    Come again

    Ronit
    Motivating kids in Family Matters

  • http://www.webproductblog.com/ Tom the Webmanager

    Actually I do not have kids now, but during reading your blog posts I can imagine having a family better than before.
    I like the "dreaming questions" checklist, I think that is a good starting point, because you need to know what they want before you can fulfil their dreams :-)

  • http://www.ronitbaras.com/index.php/about/ Ronit Baras

    Hi Tom the Webmanager,

    Do you have someone great to have kids with?
    I am glad the posts here helps you better imagine yourself having a family. thanks!

    I agree, dreaming questions are a good start, it is safe.

    Come again,
    Happy days
    Ronit

  • Pingback: Motivating Kids (19) -- Family Matters

  • Jim

    Great website you have here. More people should read this. I had great parents and it is true I have way less problems than some of my friends

  • http://www.ronitbaras.com/index.php/about/ Ronit Baras

    Hi Jim,

    I am happy you like it.
    It is wonderful to hear when people say " I had great parents and I can see how it contributed to my life".

    It is not easy being a parent. It is a big task and I think we should give more promotion to those doing a great job in their parenting and being an example.

    That is the best compliment you can give your parents.

    Happy day
    Ronit
    Parenting Classes

  • Gary

    I'm sorry, I think this post is rather silly. In practice, asking kids what they "want" is great for their imagination but hardly practical for motivation. They would take a plane to the Moon, they would meet Abe Lincoln, they would eat ice cream for dinner every day. Great for discussions and creativity, but the author completely missed explaining how this leads to motivate your child.

  • http://www.ronitbaras.com/index.php/about/ Ronit Baras

    HI Gary,

    If you agree that motivating kids is encouraging them to do things they want - wanting is part of the formula.

    I believe that many times wanting for kids is not legitimate and imagining is a way to find out what they want.
    If we tell them to imagine we give permission to ignore the obstacles of time, space, resources and limited experience. It works as well with grownups.

    I think if you ask your kid what they want and they say " fly to the moon" or "meet Lincoln" it can give you an indication that there is a reason for it. find the reason.
    Even if they say they want to eat ice cream for dinner every day ( I would want that too) try to find out what is it they really want and why and use it to talk to them about how realistic it is and what we can gain from it and what we have to give up. If you do it from a position of helping them think rather than tell them what you expect them to think, they will learn to find their own reasons for doing and wanting things = motivation.

    There are 18 chapters for the Motivating kids series - It is a bit complected for me to repeat it all. I hope you'll find some explanation there.
    The first chapter is:
    http://www.ronitbaras.com/index.php/emotional-intelligence/personal-development-c/motivating-kids-1/

    Happy parenting
    Ronit

Ronit Baras

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