Web Design

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline.

Logo Design

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline.

Web Development

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline.

White Labeling

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline.


Is Your Child’s Motivation Low?

“We must always pave a way forward…”
~ Amanda Gorman, 2022

Motivation—or more to the point, lack thereof—seems to be a very hot topic these days. Many children who used to be revved and ready to tackle learning challenges and opportunities are feeling less inclined to do so. For some reason their enthusiasm has waned.

What’s going on?

Firstly, children’s (or adults’) motivation levels can bounce around like a pinball, often brisk and erratic, and sometimes just dribbling along and petering out altogether.

Secondly, there are many fluctuating factors and influences that can have a bearing on an individual’s (or family’s) motivation. This includes health, demands, supports, resilience, context, and lots more.

Thirdly, it’s okay to lack motivation. There are challenges in todays’ world—economic issues, climate-change, health-related concerns, political unrest, and more—and people of all ages may be feeling the impact of these.

Nevertheless, it’s understandable that many parents are concerned that their children’s low motivation is having a detrimental effect on their learning, engagement, confidence, and overall well-being. Kids may be avoiding tasks, complaining about them, procrastinating, or lazing about—instead of being proactive.

The reality is that there are no sure-fire motivational remedies, and each child, family situation, and set of mitigating circumstances differs from the next. However, there are some basic steps that parents can take to support their child in becoming more engaged and effortful.

Mitigating Motivational Malaise

  • Be generous with your encouragement. Make it genuine, but position it in ways that are creative, and that generate ideas for children’s next-level experiences. For example, help kids appreciate that just by trying and doing, even a little at a time, they can become creators, developers, dream-makers, achievers, collaborators, explorers, discoverers, and adventurers. They can turn curiosity, inquiry, and determination into something that’s unique, purposeful, fun, and exciting.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to express their concerns, fears, or uncertainties. Invite them to share ideas and ask for help. Speaking up is a form of self-advocacy, and it’s important for kids to be able to have input with respect to expectations and processes, and thereby co-create their learning experiences. These should be relevant, fair, and worth their time and effort, otherwise why should they bother? (Put yourself in their place. Would you be motivated to do something you perceived as being insignificant, unfair, laid on, or overwhelming?)
  • Get everyone moving! Self-determined and unconstrained movement can improve thinking, and stoke the imagination, too. Exercise energizes the body and the mind. Going outside can be motivating, and so can playing, spending time with friends, and changing up the environment. Whether inside or outdoors, the best and most motivating learning environments for children are safe ones, with appropriately challenging and enjoyable hands-on activities and creative opportunities.
  • Don’t be a family of device “zombies.” Endless time spent on devices and tablets can lead to mindless scrolling. In many cases, real connectivity has been replaced by virtual interactions. When staring into screens becomes habitual, it can interfere with a child’s learning, and affect their neural processing and cognitive functioning, and alter their behaviour. However, if technology is used intelligently and responsibly, it can be a motivating force and a positive outlet. Therefore, it’s important to think about your family’s computer habits. As technological landscapes change so, too, must rules, attitudes, and behaviors. Get help if you need it!
  • Build on foundations. Help children connect tasks with their past learning, previous experiences, and acquired skill sets, knowledge, talents, and areas of strengths. This will enable them to fortify their capabilities—and that will be motivating. Get on board by supporting their choices, interests, decisions, and enthusiasms. Help them improve their work habits, and find the resources or materials required for next steps. Show that you have confidence in them.

A low motivation tank can be refueled—transitioning to indicate more, greater, ample, and then, finally, full! It IS possible—even when times are tough and inclinations wane. For lots of additional information check out Not Now, Maybe Later and Bust Your BUTS, and spark your family’s creativity with the many suggestions throughout the pages of Ignite Your Ideas.

Author’s Note: This article is updated from one written by Dr. Joanne Foster that was featured in issues of Best Version Media’s Neighbours Magazines, and distributed across Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

Insightful Reads For You

Perceived Risk

Perceived Risk

Understanding perceived risk is crucial in creative pursuits. Learn how to distinguish between low and high risks and explore strategies to mitigate them, turning daunting challenges into achievable creative opportunities.

Motivating Activities for Children

Motivating Activities for Children

Explore a treasure trove of creative and engaging activities designed to spark children’s imaginations and foster family connections. From inventive play to artistic expression, these ideas promise enriching experiences for weekends, rainy days, and beyond.