How many of us (over the years) have heard, observed, or used the common trend of parents telling their kids to do something “because I said so?” While this reasoning might give a sense of power to the authority figure in place, it does not empower kids to put forth their best effort in anything they do. And I want to explain how you replace “because I said so” with more individualized incentives.
Think about your boss at work, if your boss says that after-work meetings are mandatory and holds it over your head with threats and demands, just because he/she is the boss, then you are going to feel like you are just doing what you have to do to get by as an employee. If this is the case, you are not as likely to go above and beyond as an employee who is passionate about your work. But if you have a supportive boss who is verbally affirming, telling you that you are doing a great job, or has an incentive plan for his/her employees then you are likely to enjoy your work environment and maybe even work your way toward employee of the month.
This motivation factor is the same with kids, young or old. Kids want to feel empowered and you just have to find out what motivates your individual child best. When I was young, I was a child who was motivated by verbal affirmation so all my mom ever had to do was tell me what a great helper I was or how great I was at doing the dishes, etc. But that DOES not always resonate with everyone. In fact, I have worked with kids who do not like verbal affirmation at all. Some kids are motivated by competition: “Let’s see how fast we can get the dishes done by setting the timer!” and then always trying to break a record. Other kids are motivated by a direct reward “Help me do the dishes and then we’ll get to have dessert.” And other kids are motivated by incentive plan that leads to an earned reward like getting a sticker on a chart for every chore completed and when the chart is filled up they get an ice cream date, an allowance, or a “mom does all your chores for a week” reward.
All you have to do is key into what motivates your child and it will naturally produce a more empowered and motivated individual with a better work ethic. I hope this was some helpful advice for all you awesome parents out there who want to make a difference in your children’s lives. Try to put these in the order that you think motivates your child most: