Raising Motivated Kids

I seldom do book reviews because it is time consuming personally. Nontheless, having been inspired and motivated myself, I decided to blog about this book by Cheri Fuller on ‘Raising motivated kids’. I find her book filled with nuggets of wisdom peppered with sensible and practical living examples. I will be sharing them and adding my own reflections in blue.

Cheri begins by defining motivation.

What is motivation?

It’s an ‘inner drive that cause you to do something.’ They are evident when kids catch ‘a feeling of excitement about learning and accomplishing things.’ They are kids who initiate without reminders and need no requests for a job to be done. They possess the ‘inner fire’ to press on and overcome obstacles in life.

The 4 building blocks of motivation:

1) Relationships

Motivated kids tend to have close, loving relationships with their parents. If the relationship between parent and child are weak, all the enriching academic programs will not help foster the motivated learner in your child. Reason being- unmet emotional needs can block learning in children. In other words, motivation can only occur when a stable and secure parent-child relationship is established.


Indeed, as I pondered over the weight of this sentence, I started to re-examine my relationship with my kids. Am I nurturing and cultivating a connection that will last a lifetime? More importantly, am I building a relationship with them that lasts for eternity in Christ Jesus? In other words, are the concerns and activities that fill my days stand the test of eternal rewards or mark the symptoms of short term gratification?

So, How do we motivate our kids? 

With a bridge that is built brick by brick, moment by moment during the time the two spend together.  Cheri emphasize that sharing an activity or moment where BOTH Parent and Child can enjoy doing together, is the key to building that bridge.

It is not a one –sided affair where a parent obliges in something for the child or vice versa. For instance, on my one to one dates with my sons, we visit the library after a hearty lunch while I spend outdoor book picnicking with my girl. For more ideas on how to connect with your kids click HERE.

Parents are anchors of security to children.

Parents of secure children spend more time with them. There is close daily interaction. Close emotional ties are built daily, in small ways. Then any crisis can be handled. Having faith in their parents, they have faith in themselves and others, and life makes sense to them. Dr Yamamoto

I would add as a child, my parents were not exactly the anchors. However, Jesus became The Anchor of my security. Now as parents, my husband and I strive to lead our kids to the ultimate anchor of security- Jesus Christ. Since we are but forgiven sinners in a sinful world, I can offer them the love and care but only Jesus can offer true eternal security.

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Above is a brief example of her first chapter.

I shall give you a few more salient points and share the meaningful quotes that impress my heart.

2)A good example

“They learn what we demonstrate to them, not what we may hope or think we teach.’’ Indeed, read what mamahood means to me as I discover the realities of my role modeling.

3) Expectations

  • Billy had a dad who saw the passion and potential in Billy’s football endeavours despite his stubby, heavy frame and slowness. His dad talked to the coach and pleaded with him to ‘envision’ what Billy would look like in a few years time with the coach’s good guidance and time for development. From then on, the coach spent extra time with Billy and in 4 years time, he became the star player. After a talk with this positive dad the coach had begun ‘seeing kids as they might be, not as they were or are.’
  • We can also use phrases that encourage effort over performance . e.g. You’re improving/ Let’s look at the problem this way/ Let’s see how we can work this our together
  • Avoid comparisons as this kills motivation making the child feel unaccepted for who they are.


  • Balancing expectations- There is one spectrum that Cheri observed where the child who has a learning problem of any kind, is not expected to ‘perform’ even though she/he may actually be otherwise very gifted.  The other end would be overambitious parents who have unrealistic expectations of their children. This creates the impression of ‘non-acceptance’ to the child.
  • It is a delicate beam to balance my expectations for each of my children. Many a times, I tend to be the overambitious parent who expects high standards of behaviours especially on my eldest son A. I learn the hard way in my letter to A. Recently, I have been making conscious efforts in using phrases that encourage effort over performance. I also refrain from comparing the siblings as much as I can. 

4) A Healthy Perspective

Instead of being Grades driven, we should place focus on the learning process. Like learning how to think, time management, the value of hard work and the excitement of satisfying a curiosity.

‘When we let our children know that we love and accept them regardless of what grades they make, we help them cultivate motivation for all the difficult tasks in life.’



The book goes on the list and expound on the motivation boosters and busters providing much insight and practical suggestions on how we can effectively cultivate motivation in our kids’ lives.

As an educator and parent, this book has inspired and motivated me to press in on what I already know and press on beyond my area of comfort to apply the knowledge that I have attained. Blogging down this review can hopefully spur me on in raising motivated kids both at home and in my classroom practices.

Are you motivated yourself to raise a motivated kid?

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  1. […] Our boys especially J, really have HIGH energy levels that need to be regulated and channeled meaningfully. (read why HERE ) When directed towards outdoor sports and hands on activities regularly, their energy will be expended in a positive manner. Getting them to join such race events is one of the avenues to motivate them towards self discipline and experience personal success. Being the front was never our goal. Being their personal best is. E also tried her best as we strolled majorly but upon destination, we ran towards the finishing line and congratulated each other! (read more on motivation HERE) […]

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