Developing Self - Motivation in Children

 “ I know how to think I just want someone to start me on.”    —-       Robert Fisher

Self-Motivation is when the desire and drive for something comes completely from within. Even if there is no reward or recognition for “success” or “achievement” of the goal, the personal desire to do one’s best is unaffected.

Building self-motivation starts with a foundation. But the simple truth is that your attempts to motivate your child are probably working against you. To instil self motivation in your child parents must allow the children’s spirit to expand.  The more freedom children are provided the more they want to learn and acquire knowledge.

Before getting started with the different domains of learning, learning styles etc., we

need to thoroughly understand the Hierarchy of Needs presented by Maslow. This theory was presented, based on the assumption that people have wants directed to specific goals.

Maslow suggested that there are five main categories of needs and the individuals become motivated by the gradual fulfillment of the needs, which exist at the next higher level of the hierarchy.

If we look closely, it will be noticed that the same hierarchy can be applied to children. Only when the child is has a good, healthy breakfast in the morning, then only he will be able to learn during a school day. Next level is the emotional and physical security, which every child requires in and out of the school environment. Children will then go beyond and start making friends and develop relationships with other people. Social contact is very important in the formative years of a child. Once this requirement of belonging is satisfied, the child will require self esteem, which must be provided through encouragement and motivation.  Once all the lower order needs are satisfied, it develops a sense of achievement in children.  Hence, all above needs have to be fulfilled to motivate and inculcate the sense of self-Actualization in a child.

Developing Domains of Learning in Early Childhood.

Every parent strives to raise a healthy, responsible child who has high self-esteem and respect for others. We all go to great lengths to make sure their physical and emotional needs are met and that they are learning and developing the way they should be. Parents are children’s first teachers so it’s important to know how to positively foster a child’s early learning and what we can do to help that along every step of the way.

Knowing the seven domains of childhood development can help parents and caregivers do just that. Think of these as seven slices- they all come together to make a complete pie. Keep these in mind for your children, whether they’re at home, in daycare, or in a pre-school program. Let’s take a look…

Gross Motor
Here children learn to use the big muscle groups of their body. Crawling, walking, jumping, climbing are all examples of this. Those first steps excite us all leading to greater things like biking, dancing and swinging. 

Fine Motor
Learning hand-eye coordination is the focus here. Kids learn how to control precise muscle movement in their hands to build fine motor skills. Coloring, cutting with scissors, tearing paper are all activities which reinforce this development. Legos, origami, knitting, drawing, whittling and sewing help keep the mind and hands engaged as the children get older.
This domain centers on the child’s ability to speak, read and write, involving alphabetic and phonetic learning. Reading and talking regularly with your kids when they are very young is important, and the conversations you continue to have around the table or in the car enhance their ability to communicate their opinions, wants, and needs with others. Learning the ABC’s, the “magic” words like “please” and “I’m sorry”, and the wonder of a simple thank you note are all prime examples.

Children learn cause and effect and reasoning here, as well as early math skills and counting and patterning during pre-school years. We all know the game our little ones love to play when they drop the spoon from his or her high-chair so Mom or Dad can pick it up. When we do that, we’re teaching cause and effect. 

We are all social beings and our kids are no different. Learning to play with others is a skill that is taught. Making sure a child feels safe and nurtured is part of this development as is using manners and modeling kind behavior. Kids learn what they see and we are their first examples. The things they learn to do reflexively become self-reinforcing habits as they grow older and see the effects of their manners and behavior. 

In this domain children begin to show a little independence and learn how to take care of themselves. Learning to dress and eat on their own, how to tie their own shoelaces and brush their own teeth are all examples of becoming less dependent on Mom and Dad. Potty training is a big milestone here.

Teaching kids to love and respect themselves is a behavior that is learned from and modeled by Mom and Dad. Children learn by observation as well as exploration, and they are always watching.

Learning is a fluid process that never stops. The domains are equally important, interrelate and overlap as learning occurs. As they grow and children interact with the world around them they not only exercise their muscles, they learn about the world physically, cognitively, and socially.

We can help them along by loving them, keeping them safe, and encouraging exploration.