Ladder method: A strategy to motivate children

To bet for an education development, which motivates the child to consider and overcome their own challenges, can become a great challenge for parents. Sometimes it is difficult to find the best way to encourage them and then there is a risk of falling into extremes, in which case the motivation loses its mobilizing effect and can even become counterproductive.

ladder method

In this sense, a study carried out at Columbia University revealed that improperly motivating the child can exert great pressure on him and encourage him to stay within his comfort zone. In fact, another research, this time conducted at Iowa State University, showed that praising a child continuously is not always the best strategy to motivate him, but sometimes those words can contribute to the appearance of narcissistic characteristics.

Therefore, it is important that parents find the best way to motivate their child to do those tasks that turn out to be tedious and/or boring. A good strategy is the ladder method, ideal to motivate the child to perform their duties, while encouraging them to propose new challenges and achieve their goals.

How to make your own motivational ladder?

The main tool of this method consists, precisely, in a staircase whose steps represent the different phases of the motivational process. You can use a small toy ladder and stick on each step small strips of cardboard with the different phrases, but you can also make a ladder.

To do this you will need a sheet of paper or cardboard, in which you will paint a profile ladder with seven steps. You can just make the outline of the staircase or color its interior with a clear tone. Then, you should write the following sentences on each of the steps, ascending:

  1. I can not do it
  2. Maybe I can do it
  3. I’ll try to do it
  4. I can do it
  5. I will do it
  6. I’m doing
  7. I got it!

To make the ladder more fun, you can draw a child climbing, or even place a picture of your child with a sticker, so that later he can upload it himself. If you want the little one to get involved from the beginning, you can ask him to help you design the staircase, which is also a good opportunity to have a fun time with the family.

How to apply the ladder method?

The first step in applying the ladder method is to ask the child what phrase he or she feels most identified with at the time. The usual thing is to indicate one of the phrases that are in the lower steps, and then you can ask him to put his photo on that step. Next, ask him where he wants to go and in what time frame he would feel comfortable reaching that goal. In this way, you avoid pressing him to fulfill a goal that does not interest him or to do it in a too short period.

Then, as he moves forward in his goal you can encourage him to go up the steps of the ladder until he reaches the top. The fact of going “climbing” little by little on the ladder makes the child aware of his progress, which gives him a dose of additional motivation, while motivating him to continue moving forward.

It is a very useful method to motivate the child to set long-term goals, such as: learning a new language or mastering a new skill, but also to encourage him to meet short-term targets that could turn out to be boring or monotonous to him, such as the duties or obligations of the home.