Do you ever feel like you are talking to a brick wall? (I actually wrote a whole post on it once.) You ask your kids to do something, and they completely ignore you? It happens to me all the time, and I’ll admit, I’m more than a little sick of it! It’s time to remind myself how to motivate kids, because what I’m doing is just not working!
How to Motivate Kids!
During my training to be a teacher, I learned that there are four reasons why kids don’t do what they are asked:
- They don’t know what to do
- They don’t know how to do it
- Something is preventing them from doing it
- They don’t want to do it
So, when our kids aren’t responding to us as parents, we can use that reasoning to check ourselves.
Do your kids know what to do?
I’m learning that when I ask my kids to do something, I need to be sure I have their full attention. In our wonderful age of technology, kids have learned to tune into the TV, computer screen and music, and to tune out Mom and Dad.
- When making a request, avoid calling out instructions from across the room. Call your child to you or walk over to them. (This is to avoid those fabulous parenting moments when you get angry with a child only to realize that they did not hear what you asked them to do. It’s also to avoid the child’s excuse that they didn’t hear what you asked them to do!)
- If the kids are using technology, ask them to pause it while you are talking.
- Make eye contact! Make sure that your child is looking at you when you talk to them.
- Expect your child to answer you out loud. Don’t walk away until your child has acknowledged that you asked him/her to do something, and has given you an answer. (A head nod does not count!)
Do your kids know how to do it?
It seems silly, but are you asking your kids to do something that they don’t understand how to do correctly? When my youngest kids were taking hours to clean their room and making no progress, I realized that they were overwhelmed. They did not know how to undertake the job of cleaning their room on their own. When I broke it down into small steps and taught them how to do it, they were successful.
Is something keeping the kids from doing what you’ve asked?
Sometimes the kids don’t do what you asked because they can’t. For example, you have asked them to vacuum their room, but they can’t find the vacuum. Or maybe you’ve asked them to do their homework, but they can’t because they left it at school.
The frustrating thing is that kids don’t often tell you why they aren’t doing what you asked. They just don’t do it, and you get more and more frustrated.
Before you get angry, it might be a good idea to ask in a calm voice why the kids have not done what you asked. You might be surprised by the answer!
They don’t want to do it
And this is why you are reading this post! What do you do when the kids are ignoring you because they simply don’t want to do what you are asking. (This happens to me every single day with the same kid.) I’ve rounded up some great ideas from One Creative Mommy and around the web.
10+ Tips for Motivating Kids
Mission Control Morning Checklist from de Jong Dream House
Flip Magnetic Chore Chart from My Name is Snickerdoodle (Love this for toddlers)
Accountability Binder from 30 Handmade Days
Free Teeth Brushing Printable Chart from Spaceships and Laser Beams
Mighty Marvelous M&M Gift Tags (Because every kid needs to know that you think they are great!)
If what you are doing isn’t working, step back and try again! Think about your specific child and what motivates him or her. (It’s not always treats or toys. Some kids are motivated by praise, some by hugs and high fives, and some by getting to spend extra time with Mom and Dad.) Maybe you’re offering the wrong type of reward! Keep trying until you find the right match for your child.
10 more ideas to love!
5 Ways to Motivate Kids Every Morning from Written Reality
How I Get My Kids to Clean Their Room from Living Well Spending Less
Teaching Kids About Money and Responsibility from A Bowl Full of Lemons
Reward and Consequence Jars from de Jong Dream House
Magnetic Chore Charts from Thrifty Crafty Girl
Do You Struggle with Your Children About Chores from Ottawa Mommy Club
Shine God’s Light Reward System from Captain Fussy Buckets
Kid-Made Responsibilities Chart from Girl Gone Mom
Kid’s Cleaning Kit and Printable Chart from Live Simply
And–if you’re feeling really guilty (like I am) for being frustrated with your kiddos, try this one: Forgive Your Child–Extend Them Grace from What’s Up Fagans?
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you found some ideas that will work for your family. I’d love to hear your ideas on motivating kids. What works for you? Please share your ideas in the comments!