Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

A Kids’ Best Gift


Ever wonder what the best gift you can give your kids? The most powerful motivator and a kids best gift is you and your undivided attention. The moments you spend talking and listening to your kids will make them feel loved and encouraged to do their best. Your kids  have a profound desire for you to be there for them. No matter what you d0, it is never enough—-if you neglect just being there with and for them totally in the moment when you are both together.

Your usual loving gifts for your kids come in guises of presenting them with new and cutting information, providing them with enrichment activities, and giving them every possible material thing in your power. However, all these wonderful things are not what they really need or want: YOU! You think that these gifts  will satisfy their desires and make you feel better. The reality of the situation is that all you do and give them is not what they truly desire. Furthermore, You will not feel as complete or validated in all this “doing” as you once thought.

Take a moment and ask yourself what do your kids really need and want from you? What is the best gift you can give  your kids?

Ask them if you’re not quite sure. They will tell you every time. Prepare yourself for the answers. They may surprise you!

In a recent survey,  the fact that only 10% percent of the kids surveyed said they wished for more time with mom and 15% answered that they wanted more time with dad. Because your full attention is what kids need and the best gift you can give them, it is so important to make every effort to give more attention during the time you spend with them. Quality is much more important than quantity of time. The survey also revealed that what most kids wished that their moms and dads are less stressed and tired when they are together. Only 2% of the parents guessed that the kids would respond in that way!

You have in your repertoire all the knowledge and  strategies needed to  give your kids the best gift ever: YOU! Don’t ever underestimate your influence to get your kids excited and motivated. That excitement can turn into the necessary motivation that will last far into their wonderful future.

Give the best gift to your kids: YOU! —– The gift that doesn’t cost anything but is so priceless! 

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10 Steps to Build a Kids’ Motivation

Tools for Learning ApprovedThe desire to become motivated comes early in life. Kids naturally want to compete, where they stand with others, and desire real goals even if they are only short term. Few Pre-K students are reluctant learners; The real problem of motivation for academic learning usually comes much later.

Using theses 10 steps to build a kids motivation will be a gradual, ongoing process requiring some insight and patience on your part. They must know what worthwhile effort is and must be assisted to discriminate between good and poor effort. Kids must come to realize that you approve of their best efforts even if they don’t always succeed. Appreciation motivates kids to do their best. They try harder when they know you are pleased with their hard work and achievement.

1. Expect the best from kids. Keep in mind their unique talents and needs. Tell them often: ” I knew you could do it!” “Always do your best!”

2. Set limits for acceptable behavior.  “After you finish your project/chores you can can watch your favorite show.”

3. Communicate confident expectations of success based on individual potential. “You played so nicely in school today, I’m sure your always be kind to your friends.”

4. Acknowledge kids’ feelings. Listen, really listen, to their fears, annoyances, and anger, as well as to their achievements and joys. Positive motivation requires that all emotional space not be occupied by any negative feelings. Allow your calmness to quiet any negative emotions.

5. Be specific when you priase children’s efforts. “Your handwriting is so neat and easy to read!” instead of ” Your writing looks good!”

6. Be consistent in your approval or disapproval. If kids are praised for something. the absence of comments the next time they repeat the same behavior may be misconstrued and taken as disapproval. If you ignore behavior that they have been reprimanded for before, it may be taken as permission to continue it.

7. Give many opportunities to make choices. Help kids to become independent with your support.

8. Give concrete rewards! Adults work for them:  money, promotions, and status. Kids, often, but not always, need such rewards. Too often, more is expected of kids than adults. Use your disctretion when choosing rewards. Tangible rewards alone though, often fail. They are most effective when coupled with intangible ones such as praise, a “high five”, or an enthusiatic pat on the back.

High Five

9. Set goals and celebrate kids’ achievements. This helps motivate them for their next goal.

10. Tell kids they are great!. Back up your words with actions. Show them you care about them everyday in everyway. Be there for them in the moment. Even if you are away at a conference or working late, let them know you will check on their progress in your absence.

Above all “Lighten Up!”   Kids always choose to be with a relaxed, less stressed parent or teacher, and value that model of behavior much more than a home-cooked meal, or a spotlessly clean home. Be good to yourself and your kids. Their motivation will flourish in your watchful eyes. Get them excited about the important things: eating healthy food, getting along with others, completing assigned work, and always putting forth their best effort always. That excitement will be the very thing that can turn into motivation that will last a lifetime for them!

Photo by Sean Dreilinger,,  – high five from an unknown cheering parent

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