6 Simple Tips to Motivate Your Lazy Kid

If you’re faced with a child who seems to be on the lazy path of life, Mighty Mommy shares 6 tips to help him reroute and choose a more energized direction instead.                   


Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #446

tips to motivate your lazy kids

I grew up the oldest of five siblings and was used to being a “take charge” kind of kid, even in young adolescence. It was no surprise to my parents that as a tween I was in high demand as the neighborhood babysitter. In fact, my own parents had to up the ante and persuade me to take care of my own brothers and sisters because the local neighbors were offering competitive pay to watch their kids.

Maybe it was my birth order that paved my ambitious drive to do extra chores around the house and score paying jobs at the age of 12. Whatever the case, I was a “mover and a shaker” and definitely not a lazy couch potato. And to be totally honest, my younger brothers and sister followed suit when it came to venturing into the workforce and earning a paycheck. All five of us had part-time jobs by the age of 15, and if we weren’t working at a pizza place or babysitting, we asked our parents what we could do around the house to earn a few bucks and buy things we knew they weren’t going to provide just because we wanted them. Imagine that?

Today’s kids grow up with an entitled mentality due to heavy exposure from non-stop advertising, TV shows and movies that glorify materialism, and peers at school who always seem to have the latest gadgets or the hottest labels—and often just because they feel like having these things. This ultimately leads to parents giving their kids much more than they need—and sometimes, more than their family can really afford without requiring them to even earn these items.

In 7 Strategies to Build a Strong Work Ethic in Your KidsDr. Ruth Peters, a psychology contributor to NBC’s The Today Show and author of Overcoming Underachieving, says: “Daily in my practice I see parents who have made the mistake of not taking the time and attention to teach their children to be workers and achievers. These kids have learned to settle for less rather than to face and challenge adversity, to become whiners rather than creative problem solvers, and to blame others for perceived slights and lack of success.”

If you’re faced with a child who seems to be on the lazy path of life, Mighty Mommy shares six tips to help him or her reroute and choose a more energized direction instead.  

Tips to Motivate Your Lazy Kid

  1. Don't make it too easy.
  2. Be the example.
  3. Set expectations.
  4. Get kids involved in the kitchen.
  5. Make giving and volunteering a habit.
  6. Go outside and enjoy Mother Nature. 

Tip #1: Don’t Make it Too Easy.

Growing up I remember how frustrated my siblings and I would get with my parents when we had a simple request—asking for movie money or wanting sneakers that were currently in fashion—and the answer would be “no” or “what can you do to help contribute to the cost of this?” At the time it would infuriate all five of us because we felt we deserved these things at no cost. Looking back, however, we now realize the value of earning these things as opposed to having them be handed over on a silver platter. 

My parents raised a large family (just as I am doing) and made the choice to show us the importance of working for extras rather than allowing us to assume we were entitled to little luxuries and handouts. By not making it too easy for us, we all learned to put forth the extra effort for those wants that were really important to us. 

Tip #2: Be the Example.

There is an old expression that really fits the bill when it comes to setting an example for how we live our lives in front of our children: “Monkey see, Monkey do.”  In other words, this means that someone will imitate another person's actions, good or bad, simply by having watched them before.

So if you love to lounge on your comfy sofa in the middle of the day with a cold glass of soda while watching your favorite soap opera rather than tending to laundry, paying bills, or taking your child to get some exercise in the backyard or the park, you can’t get all worked up when you see her plopped on her bedroom floor with a cookie and her iPod rather than putting her clean clothes away or taking the dog outside for a brisk walk. Your child will accept your lazy actions as normal and will follow suit.

If you relish high standards for a vigorous household where chores are done consistently and correctly, homework is completed on time, and exercise and healthy eating are the norm, then be the example for your kids and live an energetic lifestyle, not a lazy one.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!