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How to Inspire Children to do Better?

Praggatti Rao August 20, 2015

Having worked as a mentor , guide and counselling psychologists for kids for over a decade, I have developed some really empowering beliefs about inspiring kids .Through this column I wish to suggest some ways  to inspire children to have a growth mindset. But before I dwell deeper into the art and science of the inspiring children, I will prefer to share some underlying facts of my unique and scientific methodology.

Some insights that I value highest on a scale of one to ten and that have garnered in the due course of my work includes :

  1. Children have all the resources that they will ever need to grow and acheive ;
  2. Children’s map of the world ( their experiences, emotions, perceptions, cognition etc ) is small and very intense; and most importantly
  3. Children love the feedback but they want it to be constructively wrapped than just critically..

The irony is that most of the time the kids aren’t aware that there’s so much working in their favour and that they need constant reminders and motivational  reinforcements for it.

keeping  the aforesaid pointers in mind, if anyone wishes the kids to have a growth mindset , the action plan has to be as stated:

  • Instead of harping on the problems (personality / life skills/ behavioural flaws related ) we can aid and  be a party to a guided roadmap to where and what  we  want them to be. Just the reinforcement that “You have all that you need “ and some simple life enhancing techniques that emphasise  power  of schedules, Time – management, Self – motivation, and small simple steps to big outcomes repeated daily over a stipulated period of time can be magical.
  • Children (at least 90% ) are shy, reticent and introvert  because their perception of the world around them (THE MAPS ) or the events and the people is yet not complete and that’s exactly what causes hesitation and inhibitions in them and reflects as over cautiousness in their day to day interactions. Any adult who can understand this and can explain to them that there is always a gap between what they perceive and what stands as a reality is bound to have an inspiring effect on children for sure.

Letting them know  that it is normal is quite comforting .Also creating opportunities for interacting more with their surroundings can actually help them make their maps of the world BIGGER!! And that’s precisely how everyone gets better including we adults.

  • Another crucial factor  in influencing children to do better is the way we give them feedback. Now if I tell you that I have a “SPECIAL SAUCE METHODOLOGY “ to elicit the desired behaviours or that there is a BURGER WAY of give feedback !!!….The beauty of the technique is that it works really well when you ‘ve got to be giving a negative feedback to children and you do not intend to dishearten them or break their morale.
  • Let’s understand now how to facilitate the feedback in this way….the upshot is to sandwich the negative / unpleasant part of your message  (That’s the savoury , spicy patty in the burger )in between some of their positive attributes that they have displayed in recent past(That’s the buger buns )…so the feedback would be outcome oriented and sought after. Remember never ever give an incomplete burger…else it might have a ruining effect .

Remember to start with a positive behaviour/attitudes displayed by kids, put the negative feedback in the middle and top it up with another positive trait and there your BURGER is complete and ready to serve to the children.

This method is a sure shot way to nurturing a growth mindset in children and feedforwards them to  be open to more critical suggestions in future too. They are not defensive about it but they take it as an opportunity to learn and be motivated positively.

It all sounds quite easy to implement but honestly for one to be actually be able to inspire kids , we need to be perfect role models ourselves…don’t they say “Do not worry that your kids don’t listen to you , worry that they are watching you”!!!!!

Let’s not forget that inspiring children to realise their true potential  requires tremendous amount of unlearning to learn spirit and tons of perseverance but the rewards one reaps is way beyond any one can expect in the wildest of their dreams.


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