There are bound to be days when your child feels a lack of motivation for something they used to love to do. For example, they may look like they are losing interest in sports, or begin to engage less and less in their favourite craft activities.
While you do not want to be overbearing by forcing your child to do something they don’t enjoy, sometimes children do need a little nudge to get them out of a rut. Sometimes, all they need is some motivation to get going again, or perhaps they will re-evaluate their interests and find something else they enjoy doing.
As a parent, what can you do to motivate your child when they are feeling dispirited? Here are some things you can do:
Ask to understand
Instead of jumping to conclusions about why your child seems to have lost motivation, ask them to understand. Some questions that might be helpful are:
- How do you feel about this activity?
- What do you enjoy about it?
- What do you find challenging about it?
As a parent, you can show that you are interested when you ask your child questions. However, be careful to be sensitive to your child’s response, and learn to recognise when your questions might come across as excessive or pushy rather than helpful.
Your questions can help your child process their thoughts, while shedding light on why their behaviour might have changed. Let your child answer and elaborate as much as they are comfortable with.
Offer practical support
Some parents may feel helpless when their child’s interest lies in a sphere of interest they have little to no expertise in. For example, your child may love playing soccer, but you aren’t much of a sportsperson at all.
Don’t let this hinder you! You can show your support in a multitude of other ways, such as by preparing snacks for them, providing transport, and sponsoring the equipment or materials they need. These lower the barriers for your child to engage in the activity, reducing the chance that they will meet with extenuating circumstances that hinder them.
Affirm their hard work
It’s easy for comparison and competition to affect your child’s confidence, even if it was in something they loved to do. For example, as they go deeper into a sport, they may see so many other players who are so much better, and they may begin to receive more feedback about the ways in which their skills need work on.
Losing a game or receiving criticism can be a massive blow to one’s self-esteem. That is why it is important for parents to remind them: their worth is not determined by their achievements! Instead, celebrate hard work and personal progress, rather than external rankings and wins.
Help them get inspired
Ask a child why they like a certain hobby, and the answers you get will be varied. But one common way kids get inspired is by seeing other people do it! They might have seen an inspiring movie, read a biography, or seen a news article about notable and successful artists or sportspeople, and aspire to be like them.
Hence, when your child seems to have forgotten their initial motivation, you can give them a little poke in the right direction. Look up films or stories about inspiring figures, and remind them that success takes years and years of perseverance and hard work – it is not time to give up! Depending on their interest, you could also take them to relevant exhibitions, museums, sports games, or holiday camps to reignite that passion once again!
Ultimately, giving your child the space to explore their interests is crucial. If you think they need it, you could also keep things fresh by trying out different hobbies together. At the end of the day, it is worth remembering that not everyone has to become a professional at what they love to do.
Having a community to learn and play together can also keep your child motivated. Most international schools in Singapore offer a plethora of extra-curricular activities ranging from arts to sports for 1st to 12thgrade aged children to hone their interests and build a network of like-minded peers. Book a school tour at one of the international school open houses to find out more!