Intrinsic motivation refers to getting a task accomplished or learning a skill for inward gratification, personal fulfilment as opposed to external rewards like says stars on a chart, or bribery or treats.
Raising a kid is a totally challenging one especially if you would want to raise a whole child with the right values: kindness, compassion, fairness, natural justice and respect for life and the environment.
But if parents constantly constantly use rewards or punishment system as opposed to natural consequences and internal motivation for the accomplishment or tasks like getting homework done, brushing teeth, or doing chores, completing a skill or activity for personal interest and enjoyment not for external rewards, then children will be forced to imbibe the value of “what’s in it for me,” to do things that they they should ordinarily do because they are a decent human being, members of a society that should add value.
There is certainly time for extrinsic motivation, additional rewards. If a kid does something exceptional, out of the ordinary, that act should be encouraged.
Here are three ways to raise kids with intrinsic motivation:
PRAISING EFFORT RATHER THAN SUCCESS OR INNATE ABILITIES
Rather than tell a child he or she is so smart, praise the effort or the process of getting things accomplished regardless of the result of the effort. Telling a child that she is smart can put a lot of pressure on the child when the child is struggling at a chore, cause or subject. Depending on wits alone cannot be enough, putting the effort and hard work and the fulfilment of trying is more realistic. Praising effort can boost their confidence in their capacity to work hard.
RECOGNITION AND PRAISE
Kids often don’t misbehave, they behave, mostly age appropriately or they learn from the models around them. A lot of parents, especially in Nigeria, fail to realise this, and will turn to mostly inordinate punishments to stop a “misbehaviour” or reward to encourage good behaviour. What will be nice is to let natural consequences take its course. If a child spills water on the floor, the child should get a rag and clean the floor. If a child acts kindly, praise the act. Praise the child for their good deed rather than bash them for being growing children.
LET THE KIDS GET IT DONE
Sometimes parents step in to quickly. They ‘help’ with homework by doing homework. But letting a kid own his task is so important to encourage independence and responsibility. Let a child clean up after eating, put his clothes in the laundry basket and solve a puzzle all by himself with a little guidance as opposed to taking over the task. This encourages problem solving which is a crucial skill to develop.