Motivation In Young Children
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Young children learn from everything they do and are curious naturally; they like to discover and explore. They will want to learn even more if success or pleasure follows their explorations. Children, during these early years, will form attitudes about learning that will last forever. Children will become adventurous, creative learners throughout their lives who receive the correct type of encouragement and support during these years. Children who don’t receive the right sort of interaction and support are likely to have a different attitude about learning as life goes on.
Characteristics of Motivation in Young Children
Children do many things on account they want to do them. The result of selecting a shirt to wear or a toy is “intrinsic motivation.” The child makes his own choice and receives satisfaction from the act of choosing, as well as the opportunity to be able to play with the toy or wear that shirt. Since the motivation is generated from the activity, it is self-sustaining, mostly, for the amount of time the child wants to continue with the activity.
Children also engage in certain activities because they are told to do so by adults or sometimes because they are trying to please somebody. These activities are known as being “extrinsically motivated.” This means the reward is provided by someone else and in order to keep the child motivated, needs to be continually given. Because of the reliance of the outside force, it is harder for a child to sustain extrinsically motivated activity.
Children learn more from intrinsically motivated activity because it is more rewarding. These types of children are more involved in their development and learning, therefore they are more likely to learn information and retain it. It is an essential element for the child’s learning, motivation and development to have unstructured play time.
Many behavioral characteristics are indicators of motivation that is high. Here are some factors that are important and ways to help your child develop the characteristics.
The ability for long periods of time to stay with a certain task. There are still measurable differences in the amount of time young children will engage in one activity even though young children are unable to concentrate on only one activity for a whole hour. Highly motivated children can stay motivated for long periods, whereas unmotivated children when they aren’t instantly successful will give up very quickly. Children learn persistence when they complete a challenging task successfully.
Choice of Challenge
Children who meet one challenge and experience success will welcome another because they become motivated. It is common for these motivated children to choose a slightly difficult activity, although an appropriate challenge. When this task is successfully completed, they gain an even higher satisfaction level. Unmotivated children tend to choose something very easy that will ensure instant success. These children feel only low satisfaction levels because they know the activity didn’t offer much of a challenge.
Dependency on Adults
Children who have strong intrinsic motivation do not need someone to constantly help and watch them with activities. The children who have motivation levels that are low are extrinsically motivated and need constant adult attention and are unable to independently function. Independence is an aspect that is important for quality learning and this adult dependence will greatly reduce the child’s ability to succeed in school. Parents are encouraged to provide activities and toys that play to the child’s natural curiosity and creativity to build independent motivation. Often, the most basic and simplest things such as toy cars, crayon and paper, blocks and little plastic people are encouraged so children can invent their own imaginary worlds rather than needing an adult to entertain them.
Children will have a display of positive emotion who are clearly motivated. They show more enjoyment and satisfaction for their activity and work. Children who do not have appropriate motivation will often appear to be sullen, bored and quiet. They won’t take apparent pleasure in their activities and often complain. You, as a parent are probably the best to judge your child’s mood. A good indicator that a child doesn’t feel god about himself and needs some sort of new adventure is a whiny and cranky voice.
Newborn babies are born with a large amount of intrinsic motivation and is aimed towards having a visible environmental effect. Infants are motivated to continue certain actions when they can see of the results as a reward. The attempts of the young child are limited to crying, facial expressions, vocalizations and small body movements. Therefore, toys that make a sound or change when the baby moves them are strong motivators.
As babies continue to mature and grow, 9-24 months, purposeful movements, more voluntary, are possible and gives them more environmental control. Children feel as if they are successful based on the wider control range. Feeling of worthiness and higher self-esteem are the results of success, which in results in strengthened motivation. They are starting to set their own goals and decide and plan what to do to gain control.
At age two, in order to achieve goals, they are developing abilities to execute events, as well as appreciate standards and begin evaluating their efforts.
At age three, children not only become interested in simply doing the activities, but actually doing them well. They have less need for feedback from adults about their efforts quality.
Ages 3-5, preschoolers, are starting to become more interested with verbal problem solving skills. They use verbal communications and speech to direct their own learning to solve problems by directing their own behavior.
There are many strategies that can be used by parents to assist their children to remain fully intrinsically motivated.
· Allow your child to explore freely to see the effects of their actions by providing the environment.
· Allow them ample time when they are working so they can have persistence.
· In a predictable and consistent manner, respond to your children’s needs, but allow them as much as possible to be independent.
· Provide many opportunities to interact and explore together.
· Do not use rewards excessively because they tend to undermine their abilities to values themselves.