Our topic for today is about Motivation. How do we motivate our children to learn?
Parents as well as teachers can’t always expect their children to bring energy and enthusiasm to the table. That is why it is a must to provide it by imparting with confidence and vitality that the child can and will make gains in what they do.
Motivation always starts with an action or behavior that needs to be accomplished. However, before we take that action there must be some kind of motivation. This applies to everyone, not just kids with homework.
Let’s talk about these rewards because they fall into two different categories. Intrinsic and Extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation, a motivation that comes from enjoyment, satisfaction. It is an intangible award of recognition, a sense of achievement or a conscious satisfaction.
An extrinsic reward is an award that is tangible or physically given to you for accomplishing something. It comes from outside (money, charting success, grades, detention, earning rewards, treat, and time to play computer games).
Many researchers will tell you that it is most important to use intrinsic rewards. I believe that a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are necessary to motivate a child to do better in their education.
Extrinsic rewards work great in circumstances where the student places a very high value on the reward. But it also work in the short term and is still widely used in education and even mirrors our daily lives like our motivation to work. Most of us go to work every day because we receive a paycheck.
Extrinsic rewards is a short sighted method of controlling behavior and persuading students to do what we want. A point system that reward children for improved attention, accuracy, productivity and behavior have powerful effects on their learning rates and spontaneous use of learning strategies. Therefore the key to extrinsic rewards is finding a tangible reward that the participant cares about. It is very hard for a classroom teacher to find one reward that all their students care about, but a parent who knows their child should know exactly what kind of reward will be motivational.
While intrinsic rewards are fundamental motivation to learn and acquire new skills, feel competent, the need for relatedness, to have meaningful relationships with other people. Satisfaction of these basic needs results to participation and improved performance. However, even if intrinsic reward are an incredibly valuable form of motivation, they are intangible. They can often be much more time consuming and difficult to set up.
One issue many people have with extrinsic rewards is that if you use them too much, you can’t get your kids to do anything unless you give them rewards. This can become a real problem, which is why I advocate a mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.
There are only so many hours in a day and most of us do not have the time to fight every battle with our kids. My recommendation is that you set up as many intrinsic rewards as possible but you should use extrinsic rewards as well.
Take a look at Dave Ramsey’s great book called, “Smart Money, Smart Kids”. One thing that always stuck with me from that book is that kids need to have a framework where they can do “chores” to earn money because this teaches them the value of hard work and money. However, you cannot pay your kids for every task. There are some chores they do “for the good of the family”. Those chores have an intrinsic reward. This mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards seems to be the most effective method of motivation.
Now you can build on this sense of confidence by guiding your child’s activities while still giving the child a range of options. This is an essential element of the child’s motivation, learning, and development.
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