Turn “Have To” Into “Want To”
We all want our kids to be independent and WANT to learn, read, try new things and follow their interests.
Something happens along the way sometimes and the WANT TO becomes, DO I HAVE TO?
So what changed?
Everybody says don’t compare yourself to others. When we tell our kids not to compare themselves to other people, we are actually sending the message that there is something to compare to. It’s a bit of a catch 22.
If we look closely, it is obvious that comparing is not only taught, it’s encouraged; countries compare to countries, states compare states, sporting groups, schools compare each other (NAPLAN), parents compare one child to another, D.C. vs Marvel, etc.
You get the point.
So, as children we do focus on the ability of others- whether it’s reading, sport, friendship, awards, body shape or who has the best shoes. These comparisons are setting our children up to think of themselves as unsuccessful, making many things seem too hard. Kids start saying things like “I can’t”, “I won’t be able to…” or “I hate…” as a defence or cover up method.
The “Want To” has changed to a “I HAVE TO”.
How do we get the WANT back?
Rather than focusing on the end result, instead look at the effort kids are putting in and celebrate that as the achievement.
For example, kids can spend 5 days practicing for a spelling test, only to get to Friday and it’s a flop. We have just negated the previous 5 day’s effort.
“MISTAKES & EFFORT MAKE THE LEARNER”
I find by jumping up and down about the effort they put in and finding the positives in the mistakes they make, children are more likely to WANT to participate and try new things.