Demotivation in Children: How to Spot It and Address It

A lack of interest in taking part in activities can be harmful for both your child's school life and family life. Here we'll have a look at the basics of demotivation.
Demotivation in Children: How to Spot It and Address It

Last update: 29 September, 2018

When we talk about children, we instantly think about running, playing games, and having fun. If your children were to stop doing that, you’d most likely thing something was wrong. What causes demotivation in children?

Motivation is what makes human beings carry out planned activities with maximum effort. Without it, we’re static, with no purpose.

Evidently, demotivation in children is a very serious matter as it can reduce their level of performance in all parts of life.

When faced with demotivation in children, many parents look for professional help. This is because they simply don’t know how they got where they are or what to do about it.

In most cases, parents are extremely worried and don’t know how to motivate their children. In many cases, they can become distraught.

Symptoms of Demotivation in Children

The first thing you need to be able to do is spot it. The most common signs that your child is demotivated are the following:

  • A demotivated child doesn’t feel like doing anything, neither chores nor games.
  • They don’t seem to have any hobbies.
  • They seem apathetic and without energy.
  • A demotivated child seems lazy.
  • They don’t seem receptive to any suggestions.
  • They only do the tasks that they’re asked to, and even then, they have to be asked.
  • A demotivated child doesn’t seem to enjoy any activities.
  • They do everything quickly to get it over with.

These are all normal symptoms as demotivation in children is actually very common. You just need to deal with things calmly and try not to let it go on for too long.

Demotivation in Children: How to Spot It and Address It

The Role of Parents

It’s important for parents to be attentive and avoid certain things which can result in demotivation. Here are some examples:

  • Your children don’t feel like they’re paid enough attention.
  • Not making sure they know why certain things are done.
  • Giving them things to do without giving them time and space to do the things they want to do.
  • Giving them tasks that are far too difficult for them.
  • Not valuing the things they do so they no longer think it’s worth the effort.

All of this can influence your children’s motivation levels and sap their enthusiasm. Try to avoid them.

“Demotivation in children is a very serious matter as it can reduce their level of performance in all parts of life”

Three Causes of Demotivation in Children

There are some factors which are often pointed to as the root cause of demotivation in children. The first is biological: poor diet and, as a result, malnutrition. A hungry child never performs as well as a child with a healthy diet.

The second is social: difficulty integrating or adapting to a group, intimidation or failure at school.

The final and third is psychological: low self-esteem, fear of being wrong, and fear of failure. Bullying at school is another significant factor.

We recommend that, as parents, you review your children’s environment to see what it is that’s affecting them and take measures to address it. It’s good to consider your children’s abilities when thinking about activities for them to do so that they avoid getting frustrated.

Another important thing to consider is whether or not they’re getting enough sleep, a good diet, and whether you’re providing plenty of affection. Obviously, these are all things you’re responsible for at home.

Demotivation at School

If children are showing signs of demotivation at school, you need to think about what is demotivating them and what you can do to help.

In many cases, teachers may not realize children’s true abilities. As a result, they make assumptions and don’t give them enough credit.

It’s a teacher’s responsibility to talk right away with parents when they realize that a child isn’t doing his or her school work. The joint effort of teachers and parents will be a much better way of addressing your child’s demotivation.

Demotivation in Children: How to Spot It and Address It

How to Avoid Demotivation in Children

Many specialists suggest that making sure you talk with your children every day will help. This way, you’ll be much more aware of the things they enjoy and the things they don’t.

When children feel supported by their parents and their teacher, they’ll be able to see the strength and ability they have to carry out activities well and enjoy them. If you ever suggest rewards or penalties for anything they do, you need to follow through on them.

However, you shouldn’t always resort to rewards to motivate them. They might start only doing things in exchange for something else and not because they need to be done. It’s important to teach them to be autonomous, think freely, and learn how to make their own decisions.

And finally, harmony, support, and solidarity at home are ideal. Your children need to grow up with the confidence to carry out any task that lies in front of them.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Duche Cordero, E. S., & Duche Cordero, D. P. (2019). Análisis de las causas que influyen en la desmotivación de los niños de segundo año de educación básica en su proceso de aprendizaje(Bachelor’s thesis).
  • Lascano, J., & Elizabeth, M. (2015). La desmotivación y su incidencia en el desarrollo de las capacidades físicas en los niños de cuarto y quinto año paralelo único del centro de educación básica Archipiélago de Colón en el Cantón Ambato provincia Tungurahua en la parroquia santa rosa caserío Bellavista (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad Técnica de Ambato Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y de la Educación Carrera de Cultura Física).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.