Teaching Kids To Apply Themselves

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Teach your kids to try harder, without resorting to threats or bribes to get them to perform. Try these tips:

Focus on progress. Goals are important, but steady progress is the secret of success. Instead of insisting that your child become a star quarterback or a champion speller, emphasize improvement as he or she makes progress.

Give them a choice. Don’t force your children into an activity because you think they should do it (or because you did it yourself as a child). If kids feel they have a choice, they’ll try harder. Point out what talents they have, provide options and opportunities, and be honest about what to expect as they try to excel in any chosen activity.

Make them feel positive. Give children lots of sincere, honest, and specific praise. They’ll want to do more if they feel good about what they’re doing.

Use rewards wisely. Sometimes a reward helps a child get started in an activity or motivates them when they’re losing interest. But use the reward only as a jumpstart. After that, replace rewards with verbal encouragement.

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