Why Motivation Matters

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Learn seven ways that motivation affects your child's learning and behavior.

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1. Motivation Helps Your Kid Keep Her Eyes on the Prize

Motivation causes people to set specific goals and direct their behaviors toward achieving those objectives. Motivation determines the choices people make - whether to sign up for advanced chemistry or drama, or whether to spend the evening studying for that test or going to the movies.

2. Motivation Pushes Him to Go the Extra Mile

Motivation pushes people to run that extra mile, or to do that extra homework assignment. The increased energy, effort, and enthusiasm put forth for tasks keeps the adrenaline going.

3. Motivation Helps Him Overcome Obstacles

Perseverance: the ability to initiate a task and continue to put forth consistent effort throughout the activity. Dedicated learners tend to start and finish activities they WANT to do. Occasional interruptions or frustrations don't stop motivated learners from achieving their goals.

4. Motivation Lights a Fire in His Brain

Motivation illuminates thinking. Actively wanting to accomplish something helps people better focus, understand, and process the information needed to accomplish their goal.

5. Motivation is a Stimulus that Rewards and Punishes

The desire that drives us helps determines which consequences we find rewarding or punishing. Learners who are motivated to achieve in school are more rewarded with a grade of an A and feel punished by a low exam score. The more kids want to be accepted by peers, they may place more value on joining the "in" group and feel more deeply discouraged to be ridiculed by peers.

6. Extrinsic Motivation Helps Shape Behavior

Extrinsic motivation is when one is pushed by factors external to himself that are not related to the task at hand. A child may be promised candy to behave well in school or a kid can be rewarded a stuffed animal for sitting through the doctor's appointment.

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7. Intrinsic Motivation Helps Your Child Look Within Herself

Intrinsic motivation is when factors within oneself or the task being completed are encouraging on their own. Learners who are intrinsically motivated to learn math enjoy the process of solving-problems, or they think the skill is important to know. Intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation.

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