The Montessori method is all about intrinsic motivation, or the desire to engage in behavior that arises from within the child himself, as it is naturally satisfying to him. All children have this intrinsic motivation to learn and to explore. When it comes to motivating your child to cooperate with you, it’s important to tap into this intrinsic motivation, rather than resorting to punishments or external rewards.
By tapping into this intrinsic motivation, we are able to develop the child’s will and independence. On the other hand, if we oppose their free will, it can lead to more disobedience. One way to develop the child’s free will is to give them our respect. By showing our children respect, we can earn theirs, and by extension their cooperation.
How to earn your child’s respect
One way to earn your child’s respect is to be patient with them. Sometimes if a child refuses to do something, we may get frustrated and lash out. This is not the ideal reaction because it will lose our child’s respect. It’s important for us to not rush our children or force them into doing the thing that we asked as this may clash with their free will or they may not be developmentally ready to take that task on their own.
Offer help and encouragement
When a child is unable to do something right away, it’s important for us to recognize this and offer them help and encouragement. For instance, if you are in a rush and tell your child to put on their jacket so you can leave, your child may refuse and say no.
To motivate your child in this situation, you can simply say “You’re saying no to putting on your jacket. We need to go to the grocery store now. Would you like me to help you put on your jacket or would you like to put it on by yourself?”
By offering her choices, you are showing your child that you respect her free will. Offering your help also shows your child that you are willing to work on things together and that will make them feel like it’s a team effort, rather than making them feel like they have to do everything by themselves.
Recognize that this is part of their development
One day your child may do the task you ask her to do with no problem, and the next day she may say no. Disobedience or refusing to cooperate is going to happen because it is a natural part of the child’s development. That’s why it’s so important for us to work with the child to develop her will during these formative years instead of trying to break it. After all, we want our children to be independent individuals who choose to behave well on their own accord.
Motivating students at Silverline
Our faculty at Silverline Montessori School has crafted a learning environment that taps into the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn. Our classrooms are designed to encourage independence, good behavior, concentration and coordination. As a result, our students begin to build character and confidence and improve their focus and attention.