How to Motivate Your Teen to Get Things Done


It’s almost winter break—a time to relax, celebrate with family, and take a break from the busy routine. However, there’s still so much to do before the holidays arrive! It can be difficult to get your teen to be productive when all he or she can do is count down until the week off from school. Arguing or nagging your teen isn’t always effective. Instead, try using these helpful tips to motivate your teen to get things done…

Explain the value of doing a task –
Teens are more likely to get things done when they know what’s in it for them. If your son or daughter is reluctant to do a task, explain the value of doing it. Studying for a Spanish test will help your teen understand the material and do better in class. Good grades will help him or her get into the college that he or she really wants to go to. In addition, knowing another language is a huge plus down the road when applying for jobs. By knowing the value of a task, your teen can see why it’s important to get done and how it will help him or her succeed.

Help make things manageable –
Often times, teens are overbooked and overwhelmed. They have so many things to do and they don’t know where to start. They may feel defeated, like they “can’t do it.” Help reduce your child’s stress by giving him or her the tools to succeed. First, you can teach your teen to make a to-do list of everything that needs to get done; this includes homework, practice for extracurriculars, chores, etc. Then, show your child how to break those to-do items into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, if your teen has a big history paper, break it into smaller steps. He or she will do research, then map out his or her ideas, and then write the introduction paragraph. Next, he or she will write the rest of the paper, and lastly revise it. Things don’t seem as daunting when there’s a clear plan of smaller, more achievable tasks to complete.

Praise your son or daughter –
It’s seems simple, but it’s something parents often forget when they are frustrated with their children’s unproductivity. We tend to only recognize when our children are not doing what they are supposed to. Remember to notice when your teen has used his or her time well, and let your son or daughter know that you recognize this. Celebrate all achievements, no matter how small. Positive motivation can be very effective.

All teens feel unmotivated from time to time. As parents, our immediate reaction is to remind and scold our children about what they have to do. Next time you see your teen struggling to get things done, use these strategies to motivate him or her. A different approach may be exactly what your child needs to be productive.