QUESTION: How can I motivate my children to excel or behave without giving them gifts or money?
ANSWER: This is an excellent question. The best form of motivation is “internal motivation”, when kids do good things because they feel good doing it, they know the value of their actions, and they do not need to be rewarded with something by anyone to keep doing it.
The key word is ENCOURAGEMENT (Note: This is not the same as praise). You must get your kids excited to achieve and excel (Ref.: THE GROOVY GUIDE TO GEN Y & Z).
Too often, parents focus too much on results rather than effort. The trick is to balance emphasis on results and effort. The only way kids can do better and better before standing a chance to excel in anything is to put in consistent effort. Young kids do tend to get disheartened if their efforts go unnoticed. Show that you’re interested in what they are doing.
Recognize their effort first so they know they are moving in the right direction. In putting in effort, it is true that kids need to know what they are doing right and what they need to do differently. Rather than criticising, which tends to be taken negatively, give constructive feedback. Let them know how they can improve.
It also helps for you to assist them to see themselves as part of the big picture; a contributing member of the world. Explain to them the concept of the big picture. Any big picture is made of tiny dots. It is these tiny dots, that come together to form a big picture. Just like a painting, the many different strokes of the brush bring about colours that combine to produce a masterpiece that will take your breath away.
If the big picture is the universe, each of us is the tiny dot that collectively combines to make that big picture. Just as a chain is as strong as its weakest link, so does the well-being of humankind depends on each and every one of us. Every effort that each of us does contributes to the good or bad of mankind. Understanding this concept will motivate kids to try to be the best they can be. (Ref: COOL BOYS SUPER SONS)