There are some things that you will want your child to do but motivating them to do it, is a different story. This is not going to be the usual reward or punishment approach that actually doesn’t motivate them for the right reasons anyway. Enjoying everything we do, should be the ultimate goal. Children certainly know and understand much more than we give them credit for.
Everyone has different values and they all prioritize them in different ways. Lets take for example a mom, who wants the best for her children. When she goes to the shops she sees children’s clothing, educational or fun activities. While the dad is at the shops, his values could be providing for his family, so he will see business magazine’s or things to help him improve his career. I know these are quite stereotypical but they just show what values different people have and how it affects what they see.
These methods I am about to describe are best suited to children you can reason with. (and I’m not talking about children who you say are unreasonable ) With toddlers or young children the best way to motivate them is to make sure they have fun doing it. Make any “chore” into a game. A song normally helps as well.
Your children see the world in a very different way to you. You must remember they at their current stage in life they don’t need to work, they don’t need to do the regular things you do because you provide it all for them. So while you may be focused on working hard, earning money to support the family and support their education, that does not align with their values. Money, food, education is most likely on their value list, but right down at the bottom!
A hilarious example of this was provided by John F. Demartini. Take a father and son (teenage) living at home. The father’s main value is working hard to provide a lifestyle for the family. The son’s main value is girls. The father sees the son lying in bed each morning as he goes off to work and thinks he is lazy. He isn’t doing well in school and just thinks that is because he is lazy.
The son goes out at 9pm and doesn’t come home til 2am-3am in the morning, looks a the father and thinks he is lazy. The son has just been out, all night, sweating, dancing, working hard to get girls. The son is working hard to his value system.
Now when John was talking to the son, he went through a few things. Do you think you are more likely to ”court” girls if you are intelligent? Do you think girls are more attracted to people with money? Can you make more money if you do well at school at get better job?
So you can see that by aligning the top values of the son you have now motivated him to do well at school and work hard because it aligns with his values now.
But to make this work you need to know your child. Values change over time and you really need to listen to understand what their top values are. Once you understand this, then all of their actions will suddenly make sense. Everyone wants to succeed in life, they want to learn and grow, it is part of human nature. We just need to understand other people’s values to understand their actions and priorities.
So while they learn more about the world and their values change over time, you can at least understand why they behave like they do and how you can phrase your requests to align with their value system.