Motivating Children for Nannies and Au Pairs

Dorothy Rich, the author of MegaSkills says, “Children are born motivated, not bored. They come out into the world eager, reaching, looking, touching — and that’s what we want them to keep on doing.”

She continues, “Just outside our front door is a world of experiences waiting to delight even the child who complains bitterly, ‘There’s nothing to do around here.'”

Rich explains, “We want children to do things, eager to learn. We want them to do schoolwork and household jobs without a lot of nagging. We wish they would say, ‘Yes,’ more than they say, ‘No.'”

“Sorry to say, there is no medicine that turns an apathetic youngster into one bubbling with enthusiasm,” says Rich.

“Parents [and caregivers] can help with activities that generate a child’s excitement for learning. But children have to catch this fire and start fueling up on their own,” she explains.

In the book Rich writes, “Attitude counts for so much. The youngster with an IQ of 160 might not study or get good marks while the kids who keeps plugging away receives good marks and goes on to do what innately gifts cannot accomplish.”

She continues, “How do people become motivated? I think it has a lot to do with catching a feeling or excitement, or some one thing that gets us going, has us saying to ourselves, ‘I want to learn more about this’ or “I want to be better at this.'”

“Certainly we can’t catch “fire” for our kids,” says Rich, “But they can catch some of our fire or the fire of those in the vicinity.”

All this week we will share activities from the book MegaSkills that help children gain the sense of discipline it takes to stay motivated, to work against discouragement, and to face competition and challenge.

How do you get kids motivated to do their schoolwork or household jobs?


  1. Sticker charts with a toy after 100 stickers earned is how we motivate kids to do their chores in the house I work in. The mother takes them to a toy store once they earn 100 stickers. They get stickers for nearly everything helpful that isn't required everyday (brushing teeth does not get a sticker) but helping me sort socks earns a sticker.Michelle W. NYC NY

  2. I agree that rewards are best to encourage kids to keep doing well. Sometimes when kids don't follow through some punishment works too. But positive discipline is best motivator.

  3. Children mirror everything we do. What we say, how we say it, what we eat, and how we feel. If you do not have a good attitude the children won't either. I show excitement about their schoolwork and arts and crafts. I ask about sports that I do not get to see. I ask them about anything to help make them feel important and special. Even if you hate snakes help the child research snakes if that is what they like.Just because I don't play baseball does not mean I don't care about getting them to practice on time, give them healthy snack before practice, and ask how their games were.Once they know I am excited to help them practice spelling they won't fight me as I try to help them . If they see I love making up stories they can illustrate the story with me.Even when you are tired and cranky take a few minutes to focus on the kids!!Erin R, San Jose

  4. Priase kids on their effort more than their accomplishments. It is great if they win a school election but just as great just to run for student government.Focus positive attention on their efforts and helpfulness. They will like being praised for trying.We try more than we suceede.Nanny and Early education studentSharon, Lincoln Nebraska

  5. Sharon, I don't think punishment is a motivator at all. I think to spark interest in learning and trying requires rewards and appreciation!Deborah S. Nanny of MultiplesDenver

  6. Whatever I eat the children want to eat, what ever I read the kids want to read, so this is true — if we caregivers don't have enthusiasm and inspire the children then who will. Teachers, parents, caregivers — we play a crucial role in motivating children!

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