How many times has it happened that you are trying to explain something to your kid and he /she is just waiting for the conversation to end? It is one of the most common situations that I have observed and even been at the receiving end. The major problem is that most of the parents of this generation have become very preachy.

The reason for this can be partly attributed to lot of preaching that they consume in offices and you tube 😛

In my experience of dealing with my 6 year old daughter and my niece nephew (who are in their late teens), the preachy method has failed very early and I have no complaints.

What I have observed is any message can work with the kids / teens when one chooses action over plain words.

Let me walk you through some of the examples to put across my point.

Learn together to encourage learning

Make your time table, have dedicated time for daily studies, set aside some time for developing some skill, practice daily…

This is a typical example of preaching. This is what I used to do for first 6 months. IMHO these advices were sufficient for our generation (I was born in late 80s). In fact I hardly had any one who would help me lay out the plan so crisply. I have no answer to why even such simple advices do not work with most of the kids in this generation.

I had option either to crib and sulk or navigate around the psychology of the kids. I choose to do the later. Let me share an example.

My nephew Shridhar (People who follow my posts know his entire story) showed interest in video editing and sound mixing. He loves playing musical instruments too. Unfortunately he has not had an ideal childhood especially Grade 5 to 10. With his father passing away in Grade 10, he hardly has grade cards to show. But one thing good about him is sincerity. That isn’t enough though. The mind always likes to be distracted.

So to get him into a routine of editing videos and learn the skill, I started recording videos. I never had an intention of starting a You Tube channel until I got this idea of getting him going.

The deal is very clear now, I record some content, share the raw files with him, he goes through his tutorials and learns editing.

Just to keep the “work and get rewarded” principle alive, I promise him some reward at end of every video. But I have put more weightage to consistency than just numbers. For eg: You get paid more for practicing on 5 videos continuously over 2 weeks rather than doing the stuff intermittently. In parallel I am learning a lot of new things as well. So honestly its a win win situation for both of us.

Make the process of learning interesting

With Advaita, my 6 year old daughter, the entry barrier is very high. But as with all kids, she is always keen to do things which people around her are engrossed in. When most of the family sits and just browses through their mobiles phone, she also demands her own phone. This is the unfortunate reality of most of the families today. To tap on to her inherent curiosity to be like her parents I decided to revive my childhood habit.

As a child I was very fond of geography. I liked going through lot of maps and watching Nat Geo to know more about countries and places. At one point of time I had memorized capitals of 72 countries.

To spend useful time with Advaita and to revive my learning from where I had left 20 years ago, I bought Flash cards with Flags of countries and all relevant information about it. I set a routine of going through these cards with her every morning while she gets ready for school. 1 week into the activity, Advaita already knows flags of 14 countries along with the explanation of design of flags. This also helps me to reduce the friction involved in getting kids ready for school. Every morning she wakes up in the excitement (which was rare) to get ready to school because we get a chance to go through the flags and she can increase here count of countries known.

The Rub-off effect

When you have siblings closely brought up together, there is always a rub-off on the habits and needs. Advaita keenly observed how I was trying to keep Shridhar and her engaged using different set of activities. One evening while I was in office, she decided to record her own videos and give it to Shridhar so that he starts getting more content to learn editing. Here’s an outcome of their collaboration.

Here are 5 Key things to remember while you try to motivate your kids / teens to take up something meaningful

  1. Lead by example: Children often look to adults as role models, so it’s important to set a good example by being motivated and enthusiastic in your own pursuits.
  2. Give them a sense of purpose: Help children understand why what they’re learning is important and how it will benefit them in the long run.
  3. Provide opportunities for success: Set achievable goals and provide opportunities for children to experience success, which can increase their confidence and motivation.
  4. Encourage autonomy: Allow children to make choices and take ownership of their learning by giving them opportunities to direct their own projects and activities.
  5. Recognize and reward effort: Praise and acknowledge children for their hard work and dedication, rather than just their achievements. This can help children understand that effort and perseverance are key to success.

Please feel free to comment your opinions and experiences.  I am more than happy to talk to the family about my learnings around parenting.

Have a Great Week Ahead!