Home Parenting and Motivation Building a Motivated Mindset: Inspiring Children without Relying on Rewards

Building a Motivated Mindset: Inspiring Children without Relying on Rewards

Building a Motivated Mindset: Inspiring Children without Relying on Rewards


Building a Motivated Mindset: Inspiring Children without Relying on Rewards

As parents, educators, and mentors, we all want to instill a motivated mindset in the children under our care. We want them to be driven, passionate, and enthusiastic about learning and growing. However, relying solely on external rewards and incentives can have negative long-term effects on a child’s motivation. In this article, we will explore how we can inspire children without relying on rewards, incorporating real-life examples, and taking a storytelling approach to encourage intrinsic motivation.

The Power of Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal desire to engage in an activity for its own sake, rather than for external rewards or pressures. When children are intrinsically motivated, they are more likely to persist in the face of challenges, take on new tasks willingly, and experience a sense of accomplishment from their efforts. In contrast, extrinsic motivation, which relies on external rewards such as praise, stickers, or treats, can lead to a dependence on these rewards and a diminished sense of genuine interest and enjoyment in the activity.

Real-Life Example: The Power of Intrinsic Motivation in Sports

Consider the story of Sarah, a young athlete who discovered her love for soccer at a young age. Sarah was naturally drawn to the sport and spent countless hours practicing and improving her skills. She didn’t need external rewards or incentives to motivate her – her passion for the game was enough to drive her to excel. This intrinsic motivation led to Sarah becoming a talented and dedicated soccer player, and she continued to pursue the sport even when the external rewards were not present.

Inspiring Children without Rewards

So how can we inspire children without relying on external rewards? One approach is to foster a sense of autonomy and competence in children, allowing them to take ownership of their learning and feel capable of tackling challenges. Providing opportunities for choice, autonomy, and self-direction can help children develop a sense of internal motivation and drive.

Real-Life Example: Fostering Intrinsic Motivation through Choice

Take the example of James, a young student who struggled with reading at school. Instead of offering him rewards for completing his reading assignments, his teacher gave him a choice of different books to read, allowing him to select topics that interested him. This small change empowered James to take ownership of his reading and sparked a newfound passion for learning. He no longer needed external rewards to motivate him – the joy of discovering new stories and ideas became its own reward.

Taking a Storytelling Approach

Another powerful way to inspire children without relying on rewards is to take a storytelling approach to learning. By weaving narratives and real-life examples into the educational experience, we can capture children’s imaginations and evoke a sense of curiosity and wonder. Stories have the ability to inspire, captivate, and emotionally engage children, igniting their intrinsic motivation to explore and learn.

Real-Life Example: Inspiring Intrinsic Motivation through Stories

Consider the impact of a teacher who shared stories of great innovators and thinkers with her students. By learning about the struggles and triumphs of historical figures, the children were inspired to pursue their own passions and dreams. These stories sparked a sense of purpose and determination within the students, motivating them to take on new challenges with enthusiasm and resilience.


Building a motivated mindset in children is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a focus on intrinsic motivation and a storytelling approach to inspire without relying on rewards. By fostering a sense of autonomy and competence, providing opportunities for choice, and incorporating storytelling into the learning experience, we can ignite a passion for learning that comes from within. As we guide and nurture the next generation, let us remember that true motivation springs from a love of learning, a sense of purpose, and the thrill of discovery


Q: Won’t children become lazy and unmotivated without external rewards?

A: While it’s natural to worry about this possibility, research has shown that intrinsic motivation can lead to sustained and genuine engagement in activities. By fostering a sense of autonomy and competence, children can develop a deep-seated passion for learning and growth without relying on external rewards.

Q: How can I incorporate storytelling into my teaching or parenting?

A: You can incorporate storytelling by sharing real-life examples, historical narratives, or personal anecdotes that relate to the subject matter at hand. By connecting abstract concepts to concrete stories, you can captivate children’s interest and inspire them to engage with the material on a deeper level.

Q: Is it ever appropriate to use external rewards as a form of motivation?

A: While external rewards can be useful in certain circumstances, it’s important to use them sparingly and strategically. Instead of relying solely on rewards, consider using them as a temporary boost to reinforce positive behaviors or celebrate milestones along the way.



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