To improve your child’s intrinsic motivation, help them set learning / mastery goals.
These goals place more emphasis on progress along the way and allow children to have lots of small wins on the way to their bigger goals.
This helps to keep them intrinsically engaged instead of placing all the emphasis on the end result. Think IMPROVE vs. PROVE. We don’t get to jump from step one to 100. We must make small improvements along the way to get to our goals. Often the big performance goal is overwhelming on its own. If we can find joy and engagement in each step, we are practicing our intrinsic motivation.
Sometimes effort and hard work gets a bad reputation. We are prone to thinking that if we have to work hard at a particular task or activity, we’re not ‘good’ at the activity. We assume that effortless mastery is the ideal situation.
However, mastery of whatever we love in life tends to come from investing lots of effort over time. The happiest people find joy in the effort of working towards something.
Try to pay attention to everything that’s happening with your child. Notice the things that you can see they’re working hard at. This will help them to see effort as a positive thing and help them to invest in the process (not just the outcome!).
This month at the Umbrella Project, we are focusing our energy on Intrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic Motivation is motivation that comes from inside you instead of from external rewards like money or grades. It’s the pleasure you get from doing something because it is interesting, challenging and absorbing. When we are intrinsically motivated, we do activities for enjoyment. We do not worry as much about the reward at the end.
Failing to hit the goals, marks or achievements we are hoping for can be tough. This is even more true when the outcome was the only thing we cared about.
When we enjoy the process, it takes some of the stress off the end result and makes us feel happier. In fact, being intrinsically motivated increases our wellbeing and our success at the end of the day.
Today’s Tip for Building Intrinsic Motivation
Today’s tip for building intrinsic motivation is about the limits we set on our kids.
If our kids could do whatever they wanted all day, they would have a high level of intrinsic motivation! But this is not a realistic approach to our lives.
If you want to set limits without damaging your child’s intrinsic motivation, informational rather than controlling limits are the way to go.
What is an informational limit? Find out with Dr. Jen in the video below!