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After-School Activities

How to Motivate Children to Finish What They Start

It happens all the time. A child begs for music lessons, to join a sports team, or dabble in the world of dance or gymnastics. You agree, pay for the 6-week session (or longer!), and your kiddo declares they are done and ready to move on halfway through week two. While a sudden shift of interest is common, especially in young children and teenagers, normalcy isn’t any sort of consolation to your bank account or carpool schedule. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to motivate children through the duration of an activity – perhaps even revealing a true love and passion for a skill that never would have been developed if quitting were an option.

Give Them A Dream

Think about what first got your child interested in the activity. Perhaps they caught a football game at grandpa’s house, or came across an exceptionally beautiful painting on a school field trip. Consider ways that you can re-ignite that passion – or at the very least inspire them to follow through and complete their current window of commitment. Show them a movie, take them to a live show or read story books pertaining to said activity. Show them what they can potentially achieve if they stick with it!

Have a Short-Term Focus

Kids, especially very young ones, don’t grasp the concept of the word “non-refundable.” So instead of trying to win them over by showing them the credit card statement, instead try to use a short-term goal process to work up a new dose of enthusiasm. Take it week by week, giving small rewards for a job well done – stickers, a special snack, etc. Don’t over indulge, but be sure to hand your child small bites of commitment and responsibility, and he will get through the amount of participation you’re (realistically) hoping for.

Be Their Biggest Fan

Everyone needs a cheerleader in life, and during these young years, chances are you are his number 1. Work hard to be encouraging whenever possible, and voice to your child how you are proud of them for not only achieving successes, but for just trying their best and honoring their obligations. Loving words can go a long way.