Kids need renewed motivation throughout the years (or within a day) and if you’re anything like me, it is emotionally draining to be the cheerleader day after day. I’ve learned that I need to set up systems that keep Care Bear motivated without my reminding her and I can be the cheerleader from time to time instead of constantly on a daily basis.
So, how to keep kids motivated? Here’s a couple things I’ve done and had success:
The earlier you can start instilling responsibility, the better. I started giving Care Bear chores very early on, and when they are little, they love being Mommy’s helper! Knowing that they have responsibilities early on helps curb the “I don’t waaaannnnaaaa” whine, or at least reduce it because the precedence is already set. There are seasons in life where there will need to be reminders, but all-in-all, starting young is the best thing you can do to make the later years easier.
Make short term goals
Long term goals are important, but there needs to be milestones along the way. When Care Bear wanted to complete two grades in one year, I found a tall thermometer chart and she got to mark off every 10% she completed along the way. She loved marking off each space and had renewed vigor any time she got close to reaching that next milestone. Another short goal counter is the marble jar, which can be fun for little kids to put a marble in each time they complete something! Remember: Make the short goals simple! Multi step goals have a place, too, but I’ve seen them go to the wayside pretty quickly because managing them is more of a chore.
Rewards for the short term goals
The rewards can be anything from a new pencil to a cute necklace to a small toy, or family movie night at home. Whatever you can fit into your budget monthly, or more, works. Of course, it should be something your child is excited about!
Make a big deal about meeting long term goals
When your child succeeds in meeting a long term goal, show your excitement! Be excited with them, and join in with them in celebrating. It is a big deal when they meet a goal they’ve been working on, and they should get that sense of accomplishment! Remember when Care Bear passed her DSST not long ago (and you got the recipe from that blog post? Yum!)? She texted everyone she could to tell them she passed and Hubby and I made sure to tell her how incredibly proud we are. I expressed how nervous I was while she was taking the test too, and physically showed how excited I was that she passed! Let life pause a bit to take a moment to celebrate their success and they will want to work hard to succeed again, in sha Allah.
Value the effort, not just the end product
Sometimes our kids (and ourselves) will plan ahead, work hard, and in the end, fail. Does that mean it isn’t worth showing appreciation for the effort? Allah judges us by our intention, not only our actions and likewise, we should show value in the effort also. Care Bear has had some challenges with memorizing Qur’an since puberty has really settled in and we talk about how it is her intention and hard work that matters, not just how many ayat she memorizes each week. Allah gives us one good deed for intending to do something good and three or more good deeds for completing something good. We can learn from this ratio in our own lives and how we treat our child’s work.