6 Parenting Tips for Motivating Kids to
Achieve Goals


Motivation is your child’s North Star. It’s the guiding point your child can use to reach goals. Find out right now how to motivate your child with positive self-talk.

“You can’t make me!” shouted the young girl. Her mother looked down and walked away. If you have an unmotivated child, don’t give up. Don’t walk away.

Why Raising a Motivated Child is Crucial to an Enthusiastic Life

We want kids to be motivated and enthusiastic. We know the quality of kids’ self-talk determines the quality of their lives. We also realize it takes only ugly thoughts to create a “grouch.” This is the last thing we want for our kids.

Here are 6 Parenting Tips for Teaching Motivated Self-Talk

1. Make the Self-Talk Positive
The mind is everything: what you think, you become.” Buddha

To motivate, the self-talk must be positive. There’s no room for don’ts, won’ts, and can’ts. As the parent you have the power to save your child from drowning in a sea of dark thoughts. All you need is the ‘know-how.’ Keep reading and find out.

2. Make the Self-Talk Personal
Positive self-talk lights the way with the word, “I” as the first word in the motivating sentence.

When I learned to ski at age 40 and at the top of an easy run, I was scared to death. Looking down that hill I told myself, “I am and I can.” It gave me the courage to push-off and head downward. I loved the swish and sway of the skiing.

On a steeper hill I forgot my goal sentence and gave into my fears. I crashed. Positive self-talk using “I” to begin the sentence is essential for motivating oneself.

3. Make the Self-Talk Present Tense
The second motivating word in the goal sentence is “am.” The “am” word encourages the feeling that it is happening now. Here are some examples ~

“I am figuring out this algebra problem.”
“I am seeing how to tie my own shoes.”
“I am reading with expression.”
“I am visualizing how to spell ‘motivation.’”
“I am laughing and making friends.”

Whatever the goal, the word “am” sets your child’s self-talk in the present. It’s as if the goal is being achieved right now.

When you ask your child to fill out this sentence, I am_____________________, he’ll be on his way to positive self-talk and achieving his goal.

4. See the Goal Clearly
Seeing the goal is crucial. I remember, as a 5-year-old, watching another kid tie his shoes. I saw it so clearly that I untied my own shoes and then tied them again and again. I still remember the happy excitement I felt as I ran to tell my mother.

Jim Carrey once said, “I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

5. Sense the Goal Actively
I know a 9th grader who was falling behind in algebra. I asked her, “What have you done recently you feel proud of?”

“I decided to take good notes, study harder, and now I’m getting good grades in algebra.”

I wish you could have felt her inner determination to do better and her joy in the results. A motivated child puts forth the effort needed to gain satisfaction and good feelings in return.

6. Say the Goal Sentence Positively
When positive self-talk is used often, it becomes a habit. It’s like a rainbow of words. These words bring the feeling and the vision together in one sentence. That sentence leads to the pot of gold, the child’s goal.

Conclusion for Goals, Motivation, and Self-Talk

By now you might be wondering, ‘Do I have to teach all of this to my kids?’ Yes, but you can make it very simple by discussing these three questions with your child:

1. When you reach your goal, how will it look?
2. How will you feel when you reach your goal?
3. Starting with the words, “I am…” “What can you say right now to move toward you goal?

That’s it. These three sentences can become your child’s North Star for life when he makes answering them a habit.

One more thing, if you choose to raise a motivated child, you won’t be looking down or walking away. Instead, you’ll be raising a child with a positive character enthused about life.


About Jean Tracy, MSS

Jean Tracy has been a family counselor for over 20 years. She is a former, elementary school teacher and is also an author and speaker. Her presentations include "Build Character Now! Practical Tools for Busy Parents" and "Family Meetings: How to Raise a Happy Family. " Subscribe to her free parenting newsletter at KidsDiscuss.com and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

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