Motivating children

Do carrots and sticks work well to motivate children? Will the promise of a reward for practicing the piano help our child practice more? Or will the threat of punishment be more effective?

According to Daniel Pink’s latest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, external rewards and punishment are not effective. The secret for motivating children to high performance lies in allowing their own internal drives to direct their behavior.

Pink describes three elements of true motivation:
  • Autonomy – the need to direct our own lives
  • Mastery – the desire to learn and create new things
  • Purpose – the ability to positively impact ourselves and our world

If you want your child to practice the piano more, try allowing her to choose when to practice, what music to focus on and where to perform that will bring delight to someone else.

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