How to Motivate Children

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Motivating children can be done using positive reinforcement as part of a rewards and consequences technique. Promise children a reward for doing good things with advice from a clinical psychologist in this free video on parenting.

Part of the Video Series: Parenting Basics
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Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Dr. Deborah Wheeler, I'm the vice president of academic affairs at Argosy University on the Salt Lake City campus. I'm also a clinical psychologist and today's topic is how do you motivate children? Well I could ask the same question of you, what motivates you? Those are some of the same things that motivate children. If you are driven by rewards or consequences, those are the same kinds of things you can use to reward your child. Now the younger the child is, the sooner the reward needs to happen. If you promise a reward for a child and they're very young and toddler or younger, you need to make sure that reward happens right away. They do the behavior, they get the reward. Older children can wait a little bit longer and teenagers even longer than that. You can delay that reward a little bit longer for older kids. Of course if you ask yourself the kinds of things that motivate you, older children are going to have a variety of those as well. They may be motivated by money or time or an activity or some other kinds of rewards system. Make sure you find out what motivates an older child so that you're not just giving them something that they would do on their own anyway. Make sure you also have appropriate rewards that are healthy and appropriate not only for the age but for their health. If you'd like more information on this topic or any others that we can help you with on parenting, please contact us at


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