Apathetic kids can be such a pain, can’t they? They could appear apathetic for any number of different reasons. The trick in this instance is to uncover any potential problems in your child’s life. During the toddler years, lack of motivation is most likely coming from his life at home — simply because he doesn’t really hang out with anyone but you! In preschool, peer groups might also play a major part. It’s pretty important that parents find the root of the problem and do their best to fix it. Too much child apathy can result in too much dependence later on in life — and all parents want their child to learn how to stand on his own two feet at some point.
Maybe the most basic step in getting an apathetic child off his backside is giving him a few short-term tasks. In order to do this, it’s wise to come up with a reward that might encourage him to get up and get going — young children love treats! Have a chocolate bar stored for him in the cupboard, or a plastic toy — whatever it is that your kid might be into. Once this has been decided on, think up a load of tasks that he can work on throughout the house. According to Maria Koklanaris in her piece, “Seven Proven Ways to Motivate Children,” the importance of involving your kid shouldn’t be looked past. Make sure he thinks of the place as his own. That way, he’ll be working within his own space — and dealing with the consequences that come with it. Whatever you do, don’t carry out easy tasks for him. If you do, he might get lose his will to work and start to feel useless.
A lot of the time, it’s all about the positive messages that you give out at home. Don’t be negative — remind your child that hard work often results in being whatever he wants in life. If you ask him what he wants to be as a grown-up and he says “a fireman,” then reply something like, “You’ll only become a fireman if you work hard.” Try not to be too critical. A negative atmosphere at home makes the kid’s attitude even worse. An important factor in motivating your kid lies in making him feel like he matters — it’s that self-centered thing again. Let him know that you will always love him, that you believe in him, make his voice count at home — listen to his opinions, even if you think he’s talking rubbish!
Taking Pressure Off
Often, apathy is a result of pressure. When your kid’s feeling pressured — at home or among preschool buddies — a defense mechanism’s going to kick in, making him hide away and lack the will to try. If your kid’s slacking, this could be a sign that he’s facing some form of pressure. If he’s being pushed by peers into acting a certain way, he may be trying to escape in some way. If you can — and kids will often make this difficult for you — try to find a way in, help him relax, give him reason to feel like not everything is resting on what is pressuring him, because it very rarely is.
Remember to be open minded about the whole thing. If somebody calls your little guy an “apathetic child,” remind yourself that the person might be wrong. A lot of the time, certain activities are not to everybody’s interest. Don’t put the child down if he isn’t any good at swimming — he may just not like the water! If he seems apathetic when it comes to life outside social situations, like at home, then maybe you just haven’t helped him find the right activity. Ask him what he hasn’t experimented with yet. Does the little guy like to draw? Read? Be adventurous and involve him in the decisions you make.