Randi Zuckerberg (co-founder of FACEBOOK) has great insights into what motivates people, and this includes young children.
Getting your children to cooperate with you is positively done when you can tap into what internally motivates them.
Here are the Top 5 things we can learn from Randi on this:
It is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage your children in solving problems and doing tasks. Although this seems common sense (make a chore a fun game and the task becomes easier to do), the skill is in building in complex scenarios and levels that deeply motivate the child. (my star chart: The Gameification model, was created after learning this insight)
2: Social support helps
Some new apps have a built in capacity that allows your friends on facebook to 'applaud you' while you are exercising. In parenting, a child could post that they are doing a certain chore or task and their friends and family could 'applaud them' and give encouragement. Including others is a great motivator for accountability.
3. Make the consequence teach something but still motivate
There is an app that you can use that is an alarm clock. It has a snooze function but if you use it, then it automatically deducts a certain amount of money from your credit card and gives that to a charity if your choosing. So you have predetermined the consequence if you choose to stay in bed longer.... so although there is a consequence, there is also an underlying benefit from this.
The same could be with your child - predetermine the consequence of a task or agreement not being met, and let that also be a 'social good benefit' such that your child doesn't see YOU as the bad person but also gives back.
4. Making things visual and experiential
Experiential seems to be the main factor here. The process of learning needs to be something that engages. It's not just about reading and learning but about challenging and overcoming. And the immediate gratification of the rewards is important.
In other words, with children, it's not that they are avoiding challenges... in fact they are excited by challenges and the excitement of achieving something. And the experience of achieving something is what seems to drive people. When they achieve something on an app game, there are bells/whistles and a new level to go to. Can you think of how to make achievements into an immediate sense of accomplishment and moving to a new 'level'?
5. Having fun
People seem to learn the most when having fun. And often the REASON of having fun doesn't have to be to learn something. But in having fun, often learning something is also the natural result.
So next time you are just having fun, look to see what is the natural learning from this and you may be surprised at how deep this learning can go.
So what next?
When you speak with Randi Zuckerberg, all of the above points seem to a natural part of her personality.
I have taken this concept of gameification and created new models of star charts and behaviour change models that create both excitement, learning and positive change.
I would keep my ears open for Randi's thoughts on children and the technological future.