If you have a hard time motivating your phlegmatic child this is for you. It is harder for some temperaments to be internally motivated than others and the phlegmatic easy going child is one. I hope these tips will help.
Related personality posts:
- Strengths of the Confident + Take Charge Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Calm + Steady Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Strong + Deliberate Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Fun + Energetic Mom (and her struggles)
This week we’re tackling how to motivate our kids. There are many reasons throughout their childhood we’ll want to motivate them. To do chores, to do homework, to make plans for their future, to go to church or join a club or be nice.
First, let’s discuss some characteristics of your Calm + Steady phlegmatic child. This child is, to be honest, the hardest to motivate over the longer term.
They aren’t terribly self-motivated nor are there easily moved or swayed by outer influences and they tend to dig their heels in.
Characteristics of the Calm + Steady Phlegmatic Personality:
- easy going
- slow to anger
- resists change
- people pleaser
- takes the path of least resistance
- shuts down when nagged
- tolerant and supportive
- patient to the point of paralysis
- excellent listener
- hates conflict
This is just a snapshot of some of the qualities a laid back phlegmatic child has. Here are some ways that you can help motivate your Calm + Steady child to do things out of their comfort zone.
Break it down
Your easy going child will get easily discouraged or overwhelmed if a task or project has too many facets. Instead of seeing step by step, they view it as one big obstacle. If your child doesn’t want to start something because it is Just Too Big, help them learn to break it down.
To view something step by step.
My 3-year-old (I can already tell) has this personality. Cleaning his room after a big play time can seem daunting. “Clean your room!” elicits a meltdown, but a “Put your books back, your toys in the basket, and the pillows on the bed,” is much easier for him to digest.
Encourage but don’t enable
This personality, more than any other, will allow you to take stress off their shoulders. A common situation is mom nags nags nags, child digs heels in with no movement, mom goes crazy and does it for him, child lets her. Your Calm + Steady child needs a lot of encouragement, but you must be careful not to take over their duties for them.
Encourage them they are able and up to the task, but step back. If they do not complete it (and it’s a rule in your home) then have clear consequences they will notice.
Encourage – always end talks on a positive note as they are easily discouraged – and then step back and let the chips fall where they may.
Help with goal setting
Calm + Steady children don’t think much into the future. The laid back personality focuses on pleasure in the present, and will need help thinking about the future. Whether it involves school, planning for something like college, or even getting their first job.
Help them break down a goal into small steps, and set goals they are accountable to meet.
Don’t nag or threaten
Even though you Calm + Steady child will bring out every single instinct you have to nag, threaten, and bribe, it will have the opposite effect. They are slow to action, but heavily resist when someone pushes them towards action because it makes them feel out of control and, therefore, unprepared.
Since they are extremely afraid of failure or looking stupid, they will dig their heels in and be very stubborn when faced with nagging or threats.
Review past successes and recognize strengths
Because they tend towards lack of confidence in new things and are easily discouraged, it’s important you encourage them with their past successes. If you falsely flatter or try to puff them up, it will not help because they’ll only feel more inadequate if they don’t believe you.
“Remember the first time you tried riding a bike? It took you a few times, but you got it quickly. You can do hard things!“
By reminding them of past successes and strengths they possess (give a lot of evidence) they will feel more able to take that risk and believe in themselves.
Show the big picture
This can be tricky. If you make something seem too big, they will feel overwhelmed and incapable. However, they have difficulty seeing past the present so it will often take a vision of the end goal to get them to start something.
By showing the clear path, the steps needed, and a timeline you can help them get started with a larger project or goal.
For something like homework or housework, you’ll need to give a reason why and show the end goal. Also, this type of personality really loves to serve those they love. When you need them to do something that helps you, remind them how helpful and good it will feel to you to have their cooperation.
What is your best tip to motivate your easy going child?