13 Hacks to Motivate Kids to Attempt New Tasks

Are you looking for hacks to motivate kids to attempt new tasks? If so, keep reading.

1. Do not require the student to finish the task in one sitting.

2. Minimize distracting stimuli (e.g., place the student on the front row, give a carrel or “office” space away from distractions, etc.). This is used as a way of reducing distracting stimuli, not as a punishment.

3. Organize their surroundings to give the student increased chance for help or assistance.

4. Select a peer or volunteer to help the student begin a task.

5. Assess the clarity and quality of directions, explanations, and instructions given to the student.

6. Get the student to question any directions, explanations, or instructions not grasped.

7. Talk with the student to explain (a) what the student is doing wrong (e.g., not trying a new task) and (b) what the student should be doing (e.g., asking for assistance or clarification, following instructions, staring on time, etc.).

8. Praise the student for trying a new task: (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

9. Praise those students in the classroom who attempt a new task.

10. Draft an agreement with the student stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., trying a new task) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

11. Praise the student for trying a new task within the duration of time they can be successful. As the student shows success, slowly decrease the amount of time to begin the task to be reinforced.

12. Assess the appropriateness of the task to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.

13. Connect with parents (e.g., notes home, phone calls, etc.) to disseminate information about the student’s progress. The parents may reinforce the student at home for trying a new task/task at school.

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