- PERSISTENCE is the ability to stay on task for a period of time. There are measurable differences in children's abilities to engage in activities. A highly motivated child will stay involved for a long period of time, whereas an unmotivated child will give up very easily when not instantly successful. Children learn persistence when they are successful at a challenging task. Parents can help build persistence by offering tasks that are just challenging enough, but not overwhelming.
- CHOICE OF CHALLENGE is a characteristic of motivation. Children who meet a challenge will feel success and welcome another appropriate challenge. Unmotivated children, those who have not experienced early success, will pick something that is very easy and ensures an instant success. These children feel only low success because they know the task was not challenging. Parents can help their child find an appropriate challenge while still allowing the choice to be the child's.
- The AMOUNT OF DEPENDENCY ON ADULTS is another indicator of motivation. Children with strong intrinsic motivation do not need an adult constantly watching and helping with activities. Children who have a lower lever of motivation or are extrinsically motivated need constant attention from adults and have great difficulty functioning independently. Independence is an important aspect of quality learning. Too much dependence on adults can limit a child in school. Parents can increase independent motivation by encouraging activities that require curiosity and creativity. This encourages children to invent their own worlds rather than depending on an adult to entertain them.
- EMOTION is also an indicator of motivation. Motivated children will have a positive display of emotion because they are satisfied with their work and show more enjoyment in the activity. Children without appropriate motivation will appear quiet, sullen and bored. They will not take any apparent pleasure in their activity and will often complain. As a parent, you are probably the best judge of your child's moods.