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How to Motivate Children using NLP

Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) is well known for dealing with behaviour issues, but it also provides many techniques that are useful for generative changes such as Motivation. In fact, motivation and NLP have been closely linked since the early days of NLP

“The term motivation refers to factors that activate, direct, and sustain goal-directed behaviour… Motives are the “whys” of behaviour – the needs or wants that drive behaviour and explain what we do. We don’t actually observe a motive; rather, we infer that one exists based on the behaviour we observe.”(Nevid, 2013)

Motivation is frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is self-motivation and arises from within the individual, such as doing a complicated crossword puzzle purely for the personal gratification of solving a problem.


Extrinsic motivation is when someone else motivates the individual or are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involves rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition or praise.

Also, there are two dominant motivators in life. Its either pain or pleasure.

In life, we want to move away from pain but get attracted to something that gives us pleasure.

Getting your child into a motivated state can be a constant battle for some parents. Motivation affects everything they do and it can be the difference between enjoying things they do or feeling the weight of what they do i.e. feeling happy about doing it or doing it with reluctance. Some children seem infinitely and effortlessly motivated for most things but, others find it hard even to get out of bed in the mornings.

Children who struggle spend a tremendous amount of effort thinking about things before they attempt to do them. They may have images of themselves struggling with things so thus they get stressed and are unable to motivate themselves to complete the task.

So how can we go about motivating our children

Firstly, you need to find a reason/s that is personally important to them. Everyone has different criteria so you can’t motivate everyone in the same way.

It could be any of the following reasons

  • they want to make their parents happy

  • they like to be the best in the class

  • they have some future goal in mind that school is linked to

  • they want to get the reward that the parents may have offered them

  • they don’t want to suffer the consequences of not doing well whatever they perceive them to be.

Secondly, we want the children to believe that they can do well. If a child has REASONS to motivate themselves but they have a deep-rooted belief that they are not smart, then this can influence their motivation. They might have an image in their head of failing at the task and then they say to themselves If I can’t do it, why should I even try.

If we can teach a child mind strategies for learning that work and they still don’t do well in school, we need to move on to working on their attitude, beliefs and motivation levels.

So, here’s the thing we can MOTIVATE CHILDREN USING the above points and linking them together.

Learning to motivate Children using NLP is quite easy if you connect what you motivate them towards and show them to how their criteria will be satisfied.

In doing this what types of are ‘Criteria’ are we looking for? A Childs criteria would be his/her beliefs of what’s important in life and one child’s criteria will be different from another’s. Examples are

  • Achievement

  • Winning

  • Helping others

  • Getting ahead of others

  • Being the best

  • Being part of a group

  • Having lots of friends

There are several ways in which you can MOTIVATE CHILDREN USING THEIR CRITERIA. For younger children, the parents can put a system in place at home with rewards and take-aways linked to the child’s criteria.

For older children, parents could talk about goals.  If a child is passionate about something they are going towards, motivating them is easy.

Some Children may already have goals for the future and they can see how doing well in school/ university is going to get them there.

However, you may find that some Children have long term goals but cannot see how school is related to them. Here you will need to find a link.

But there are also of a lot of Children who don’t have any goals at all. In that case parents, will need to get the child to create some goals. These could be either short or long term. Parents will first need to convince the child the importance of having goals, and take them through a goal setting process that matches with their criteria.

NLP has strategies and techniques that can help with almost everything. Whether you have things that are limiting your child, want them to be MOTIVATED, be more confident, want to rid of anger, anxiety or phobias or even want that your child can communicate more effectively. NLP can help.

NLP Techniques have proven to work. Not just in the short term, but lasting transformation, which will stay with your child for their entire life.


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