How to Motivate Your Child

Enrichment Therapies

January 18, 2017

By Jaimi Bird, M.A., CCC-SLP

Is it difficult to motivate your child to want to come to speech-language therapy to tutoring sessions, or even go to school? Does your child say, “I don’t like it” or “It’s too hard”?   Here are some ideas to make things that give your child anxiety a positive experience!

Talk positively about therapy at home.  Children are very observant and pick up on your feelings and your adult conversations, even if you think they aren’t listening!  Let them hear you talking about how happy you are about what they are doing. 

Tell your child how proud of him you are.  When you are having a conversation, tell him he is smart, that he is a hard worker, and his teacher/ therapist is so great!   Tell him how proud you are too, you might say, “Doing new things is hard for everyone, I am so proud of you for trying your best and working hard!”

Talk to your child about his feelings.  Validate his feelings and show you understand.  You might say, “I understand you feel nervous, but going to school (or therapy/tutoring) is important, you will learn and have fun there.”  Encourage your child to tell you why they are anxious, so you can address specific concerns. 

Use positive reinforcement. If their behavior is becoming negative and you have a difficult time getting them to go to school in the morning or out of the car when it is time for an appointment, use positive reinforcement.  Make the school time or the appointment part of a reward instead of making it something they have to do first and then earn a reward.  Work with your teacher or therapist to allow your child to earn something they really want when they do their work.   If a child’s perspective can be changed so that they see the “hard” thing as a “fun” thing, everyone wins!   

Use simple work and reward sheets. Sometimes during our sessions at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center, we use simple work and reward sheets so kids can see they are working hard.  Giving children a visual on paper so they can see they are close to earning something great works really well.  This is an example of something we may use here!   We adapt our reward sheets to meet the needs of each specific child.  Some kids may need positive reinforcement after completing 3 work items, some kids may be able to work longer and then earn a reward.  Usually, we start with a shorter work time and increase the demands as the child’s confidence grows.    

Click Reward Chart w: Characters pdf to download a copy for yourself. 

Do you have questions or would you like to learn more about ways to make your child’s therapy a positive experience?

Call us at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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