How To Motivate A Child Who Is Unmotivated?


What have you put off longer than you should have for something you hate doing? It happens to all of us. Everyone experiences a lack of motivation, but kids have it even more difficult. Children’s lack of motivation, it turns out, gets worse over time and can last into adulthood.

When it comes to unmotivated children, you know that telling them that they “need to work harder” won’t help. Years of research on motivation have resulted in some valuable strategies that every parent with an unmotivated child should know about. Here you can find a complete guide about “How To Motivate A Child Who Is Unmotivated?” Read it below!

How To Motivate A Child Who Is Unmotivated?

1. Get to know your child’s interests.

Children are no different from adults in that they enjoy doing things they find interesting. Those who are motivated by the activities they enjoy are more likely to succeed.

  • Find out what your children are interested in by observing them.
  • Show interest in them, even if their interests differ from what you wish they were interested in.
  • Make links between their interests and the other skills you would like them to gain. Comic books can be a great way to improve reading skills and gain new knowledge, or encouraging your child to practice music lessons with a friend can motivate an unmotivated child.

2. Everyone has an innate desire for success.

Even when someone has a specific disability that has gone undetected, many of them strive to succeed in their careers. When you fail repeatedly, you can become frustrated and discouraged, then you may exhibit tantrums or be constantly angry and anxious.

A child who experiences too many failures may develop learned helplessness if they first perceive themselves as failures. In other words, children who lack confidence in their ability to accomplish specific goals may lose motivation. These feelings of insecurity can lead to behaviors such as avoidance, stress, apathetic attitudes, and laziness.

  • Make sure your kids have the opportunity to succeed.
  • Talk to your children about their successes so that they see themselves as successful people.
  • Identify challenging but attainable tasks with reasonable expectations.
  • You should make sure that your children know what is expected of them. For example, if your unmotivated child struggles with homework often, make it a habit to explain what is expected every time they have homework.

3. Provide your child with opportunities to be motivated.

The kids became interested in developing video games because they watched videos made by kids their age. 

  • Exposing your children to other people’s accomplishments in their fields of interest is a good motivational tool. In no way, however, should you compare your children with others or expect them to achieve the same goals.
  • Providing your child with opportunities to see others succeed – which can be achieved by watching movies, reading books and stories, etc. – will help reduce the lack of motivation your child feels.

4.  Avoid giving them motivational talks.

Science has proven (and even parents have discovered!) that motivational talks are rarely effective over time. Even if you have the best intentions, talking to your kids about the importance of effort is unlikely to change their ways.

  • Concentrate on your future performance instead of your past performance – “what can you do differently next time?”.
  • Encourage your children to evaluate their own performance instead of speaking for them. You can help your children to develop a growth mindset by providing them with several age-appropriate resources that can help them reflect on their performance.
  • Let your children know you believe in them instead of giving them motivational talks. Say something like, “I know you will figure it out, but just haven’t figured it out yet.”

5. Provide encouragement and support.

Our kids’ lack of motivation can cause us to become frustrated. We’re even more frustrated when we don’t know how to motivate them! Remember there are a variety of reasons why they may not be motivated Among the reasons for kids’ lack of motivation are lack of confidence, lack of involvement in Decisions about them, frustration, and disappointment (when homework needs to be done, when video games can be played, etc.).

  • Failure is a part of life, and most people experience failure repeatedly before they succeed. Share your failures with your children. They will see that failure is part of life. We are stronger because of our failures, not because of them. Successive failures are common, as evidenced by those who became today’s celebrities after experiencing them. Be open to discussing them with your children. 
  • Even if the changes do not immediately lead to an improvement, keep mentioning the positive changes in your kids. Say something when you notice your kids are putting more effort in. Thank them when you see them trying harder. If you notice them trying a different approach, let them know you’ve noticed it. But don’t praise the child, praise the effort.

6. Keep in mind that kids are kids.

Don’t you think it would be great if our children followed our every instruction and did things exactly (or even better) than expected? As we all know, kids are not the same as adults when it comes to their perceptions of the world. It is unlikely to change their perception if you tell them certain things are important because they may not understand why they have to learn about them.

  • Keep your children’s learning interesting by finding ways to make it fun. Working on a song they like may be more motivating than following a set workbook, for example, if they are taking music lessons.
  • The same thing can be learned in so many ways. A good movie can teach history; you can teach counting to your kids using Legos; you can develop children’s executive function skills by using “color, cut and glue” activities. You can try different ways to tackle the same activity if your child has trouble staying focused.
  • Keep in mind that kids will always be motivated by things they enjoy, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Let your children enjoy the things they like and cut them some slack. Expecting certain things from your children can be counterproductive.
  • Your children will not only remember criticism and disappointment from their childhood if you don’t let them.
  • You need to change your perception of your child’s behavior. Kids and adults alike hesitate and lack motivation from time to time. Does your child differ in this regard?

7. Make sure you focus on your child’s strengths.

A strength-based approach to parenting can increase your child’s happiness and satisfaction in ways you didn’t think were possible.

  • Your parenting approach should be centered on your child’s strengths. In order for children to realize their full potential, they must encounter success (even in a few fields) rather than remaining mediocre in everything they do.
  • Once they discover what their strengths are, even the most destructive children can undergo a transformation. Don’t forget that recognizing your children’s strengths helps to build their self-esteem.

8. Be willing to step aside from the driver’s seat.

Children’s motivation is a big issue, so why is this so? Why do parents and teachers find it difficult to motivate children? Science suggests that one of the main reasons we struggle with our kids’ motivation is because we try to “dictate” what they should do. We would like to show them when they should do their homework, when they can watch TV or play video games, when they can see their friends, etc. The problem is, the more kids feel that they have no voice in decisions that directly affect them, the less likely they are to adhere to those decisions, as evidenced by studies.

  • Your children will become dependent if you do everything for them.
  • Your children will be much more motivated if they are allowed to participate in the decision-making process.
  • Your family’s conflicts and power struggles can be resolved with negotiation, a powerful tool.

9. Make sure you know what isn’t negotiable.

You may not be aware that your expectations have a big influence on your child’s behavior and performance. Because of our inability to clearly communicate our expectations, our children don’t always know what we expect of them.

  • Make sure your children know what is non-negotiable and what is expected of them. You should let them know before they sign up if they cannot drop an activity until a certain period has passed (for instance, one semester or one year). In any case, be flexible – if the activity is truly making them miserable, consider negotiating.
  • Let your children know you expect them to help with household chores, but remember that you will gain more by allowing them to choose, to a certain degree, the jobs they undertake.

10. Seek professional assistance.

We sometimes hear about the possibility that children’s lack of motivation is a result of undiagnosed learning disorders or attention-related problems.

  • Disorders such as lack of motivation, procrastination, and concentration difficulties can display themselves in behavior. Having a child with these disorders can lead to him/her giving up if he/she fails constantly.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your child’s lack of motivation, do not hesitate to consult a professional. A professional can assist you in determining whether or not your child has a learning disorder or other issues, as well as how you might be able to help the child.

11. Make sure to validate, validate, and validate

When children are experiencing uncomfortable emotions, it is vital to validate their emotional experiences.

Providing validation helps the child feel seen and heard, which will help them feel more secure and confident.

12. Engage themselves in their daily lives

Make it a habit to ask the child about what they learned in school and how their day was. By showing interest in your child’s life, you can help increase intrinsic motivation by showing them their life is exciting and interesting.

As always, a conversation is more effective than an interrogation, so make sure to share information about your day as well

13. Reinforcement is needed

Instead of physical reinforcement, use social reinforcements, such as hugs, high fives, and praises. Children will be motivated by these extrinsic rewards thereby increasing their intrinsic motivation

14. Communicate empathy

Even when the child makes mistakes, making them feel heard and wanted can do wonders for their motivation and self-esteem. You need to communicate to them that feeling unmotivated is an unsettling feeling, but it is common.

15. Reward effort rather than results

Children can be taught the pleasure of continuously trying when they are praised for following through when things get tough and for trying things they are unsure about.

How To Motivate A Child Who Is Unmotivated – Conclusion

Motivating your child will not be easy, especially if he has a long-standing problem. Remember that it takes time to change habits. Be persistent and celebrate your successes.

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Aroosa is a Web Editor for Healthly Talks and a long-time writer, editor, and researcher. For many years, she worked as an executive coach in a variety of industries. She earned her degree in communication with an emphasis on communication theory and psychology. Aroosa joined a group of iPhone and Apple consumers roughly four years ago and has since appreciated the unique and personalised feel of Apple technology and its many products.. Aroosa enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with their diverse array of dogs when she isn't working.


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