We are all still getting used to the changes we've made to our daily lives. Some days are slow, some days are hyper productive, some days are chaos. Staying in can be tough, especially for kids since they are seeing their world change drastically and their routines and rhythms slow down. The good news here is that a little motivation goes a long way to easing the transition. Here are 6 tips to keep your kids, or yourself, motivated at home.
Create a routine
Now that we are all facing a new normal, it has become obvious that setting routines and plans is helping us to stay productive and keep things together. Well, kids are not different! Bringing structure, routines and plans into their day-to-day will keep them accountable and motivated. Get the whole family in the habit of sharing a calendar at home (we are big advocates of big white boards), where everyone writes their plans for the day. Slot time for their chores and homework, and let them take care of the rest of their time.
Teach them goal setting
It’s a no brainer, motivation comes from excitement. So once we are all settled with a routine that keeps them accountable with their homework and house chores, it’s also important to teach them to pick activities and goals that matter to them. Since we are all at home, now is the time for them to pick a big goal to achieve at home, anything that excites them and that they have been wanting to do. A vision board is a great tool to help them define all the things they want to achieve, it could be painting, playing an instrument, a sport, learning a language, or reading X amounts of books. Set the big goal and break it down together into SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) goals that would fit into their daily routine.
Talk, talk, talk
Open communication is essential to motivate your kids as it will teach them to reflect on their motivations and goals. Take the time to explain why activities are important to their development and how they will benefit from them in the future. Questions like “What do you think is the greatest thing about this task?”, “How is this task helping you? “ “How do you feel about having completed this task?” and “What have you accomplished through this task” will lead them to introspect about the things they are doing and recognize their own achievements, and ultimately feel proud of them. If you find that they are struggling and are feeling like they want to give up on a task, side with them and ask them how you can help to overcome the obstacle. Brainstorm together on solutions and encourage them to come up with a solution that will work better for them.
Don’t forget to play together
Take breaks and always make time for play time. While routines, goals and chores will teach them structure and determination, down time will teach them to have fun while learning new things. It’s all about balance and not everything has to be about improving skills, so find joy together in learning new things, playing games you have never played before,to wander, to discover. Mix things up and always pick new hobbies, sports, places or content. This will teach them to be interested in all types of activities and find something they are genuinely passionate about.
Remember that you are their #1 role model, that means that positive reinforcement and encouragement from your part is an essential part of keeping your kids morale up. We tend to celebrate only the accomplishments, but the efforts they make to achieve their goal are just as important. Praise the efforts and growth rather than the outcome, and let them know that you recognize the small gestures as well as the reason why you appreciate their hard work.
Last but not least, who doesn’t feel motivated when being celebrated? Reward systems are tricky so always make sure you are rewarding their skill and not their behaviour. Every time they reach one of the milestones they’ve set for themselves, small or big, let them know you are proud of them by doing things they enjoy. Together, come up with a list of their favorite things to do, from eating treats to play video games, and reward them by doing these activities as a family.
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