Colonel Stuart Williams meeting cadets

How to Motivate Children by Volunteering

How to Motivate Children by Volunteering

8 March 2019

Sometimes teenagers become lazy and unmotivated, unwilling to do chores or spend time with the family. It might be easy to bribe young children with chocolate or sweets, but older children are much harder to motivate – sweet treats don’t have the same effect as they used to! The best way to get your teen to socialise, do schoolwork or maintain a hobby is to ensure that they’re internally motivated. Motivating teenagers isn’t always easy, but there are certain steps you can take to help.

Reconsider rewards

Rather than offering your teenager a reward like money for doing their homework or washing the dishes, encourage them to do the right thing because it makes them feel good. For example, tidying a bedroom has more benefits than just being hygienic - it can improve sleep and increase productivity. When your child realises that it feels good to do certain tasks, their motivation for that task is likely to increase.

Express appreciation

Motivating your child can be as easy as telling them when their actions make you happy. It can be a good Maths grade or even just the fact that they helped bring the shopping in. Whenever they’ve done well, let them know that you appreciate it! Most young people just want their parents’ approval, so let them know that you value the act of trying.

Take interest and pay attention

Take time to get to know your teen! Learn about their likes and dislikes and appreciate their thoughts and feelings. Taking an interest in them shows that you care, which can bring you closer. This should improve motivation and encourage them to get involved with chores and schoolwork. If they know you’re supportive of their interests, they may be more likely to put effort into things they don’t necessarily care about to make you proud.

Help them see their potential

Maybe your teen is falling behind at school, or is struggling to keep up with others in their sports team? Whatever the issue, it’s easy for teenagers to become unmotivated and see themselves as a failure. You can help by encouraging them to focus on and celebrate their strengths. Weaknesses can be worked on and it’s the love and affection from you that will keep them motivated. Help them set goals which are, at first, easily attainable. This will increase their confidence, encouraging them to see their potential and therefore work harder to get better.

Give them space

Freedom will allow your teen to find things out about themselves. It will also allow them to socialise, gain new experiences and understand what they like and dislike. While you might not want to let your child grow up, smothering them may push them away and limit their personal development. Give your child space so they can figure things out on their own and become more independent.

Be a good role model

Practice what you preach – your children won’t appreciate it if you do things that they’re not allowed to do. Be a parent they’re proud to have and it’s likely that their actions will reflect that. Keeping fit and healthy, being a nice, approachable person and wanting to change people’s lives may rub off on them positively. A way to do this is by volunteering – it’s a great way to show the impact you’re having on other people and gives your child a reason to be proud. It may even inspire them to do something similar!

How will volunteering at the ACF inspire my kids?

Becoming an adult volunteer at The Army Cadet Force is a fantastic way to spend your free time. You’ll benefit others as well as yourself - shaping the lives of young people and providing inspiration to become a good person. Find out about some more of the benefits of volunteering.

As well as helping to develop others, the Army Cadets is a fantastic way to meet new people, gain new skills and qualifications, have fun and build your confidence! Our adult volunteers are treated with respect and our cadets appreciate what they do for them. Volunteering with us may encourage your teen to join an after-school club, challenge themselves and do positive things for the community – all because they’re inspired by you!

If you want to learn more and get involved with the Army Cadets, find your nearest detachment and learn how to volunteer with us.