MORE Motivation Ideas

Enrichment Therapies

February 1, 2017

MORE Motivation Ideas

We all lose motivation sometimes.  When I have a long list of things to do (laundry, dishes, cleaning bathrooms…..ugh) I usually need to find a way to motivate myself to get going, or nothing will get done.  Often it feels so good to just cross an item off a list (I’m one of those people who will add an item to a list just so I can cross it off) that it is enough motivation for me.  But other times I need a slightly more tangible reward.  Like chocolate.

Kiddos can be the same way.  Sometimes tasks that they are asked to do seem overwhelming and they have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe it has become a struggle even to go to school or therapy/tutoring sessions.  Check out Jaimi’s blog here for some great ideas on how to have a conversation with your child to provide them with some motivation.  Jaimi also mentions using positive reinforcement and reward sheets.  I am going to give you some more examples of those here.

These ideas can be used at home or during school or therapy/tutoring sessions.  As a parent, you know your child the best.  Therefore, you also know what he or she is most motivated by.  Maybe it’s an extra bedtime story, a couple turns of their favorite game, an extra five minutes of screen time, or a special snack.  Older students may be able to work towards a long-term reward, such as a trip to the museum or zoo or buying a new toy.  Once you have established the reward, let your child know that when he completes a certain number of tasks, he will get this special reward.  In order to provide a visual for him, you can keep track of the tasks he completes with several options.

1. The first is a simple chart like this:

If your child likes Angry Birds or superheroes or princesses, print out pictures of them.  When your child completes a task, allow him to remove one picture.  When all of the pictures are removed, he receives his reward.  Similarly, you can use pennies or other objects instead of pictures.

2. Your child can also place stickers or draw stars on a piece of paper for each task completed.

Just make sure it is obvious how many she must put on so she can see how many tasks she has left.  Above, I drew a box for each sticker/star so the child knows she has to do 5 tasks.

3. Another strategy for a slightly older child is the “Hard Worker Chart”.  This is meant for the child that struggles to attempt tasks; he is rewarded for trying even if his answer is incorrect.  However, it can be adapted to simply represent the completion of tasks.

The happy face represents ‘hard working’ and the sad face represents ‘not trying’.  For each task, no matter if the child’s response is correct or incorrect, a pom pom goes into one of the containers depending on whether the child attempted a response or not.  After ten trials, the task is written at the top of the chart and the percentage of ‘trying’ (the number of pom-poms in the happy face container) is colored below.  This chart can be used for one day or even over the course of a week.  You can download a PDF of the chart here: Hard Worker Chart ETLC

All these strategies can be easily adapted to whatever is most appropriate for your child- be as creative as you would like!

If you need some more ideas for motivating your child or you are concerned about your child’s performance at school, give us a call at Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center!  Our speech-language pathologists and learning specialists are always happy to provide recommendations.

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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