How to Build Intrinsic Motivation and Why It Matters

intrinsic motivation

As your child goes through the developmental stages, there will be times when you need to help them get motivated. This is especially important for children facing challenges with their ability to focus and stay on task. 

Montessori focuses on intrinsic motivation. It believes that the child should be given work that promotes intrinsic motivation, such as bright colors, exciting patterns, and shapes. This will allow them to become involved in learning and take pride in their work.

Looking for ways to build intrinsic motivation in your classroom or at home? Read on for great tips and strategies! 

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

Motivation is defined as the inner desire to act or continue an activity. It drives people to want to learn or complete tasks and activities. 

Intrinsic motivation is a sense of pride, interest, and ownership that comes from working on a task for its own sake. It allows the child to feel good about what they have accomplished and encourages curiosity.  

Children can work on various tasks in a Montessori classroom without being told what to do or the outcome, although the results will be necessary for their learning. Children will work on the task at their own pace and feel like working when ready. This allows children to learn while they are working and encourages them to want to keep coming back to the tasks. 

How to Instill Intrinsic Motivation in Your Kids

One of the best things you can do for your kids helps them develop intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation comes from within, which drives people to do things even when there’s no external reward. Here are some tips for instilling intrinsic motivation in your kids: 

Encourage them to find their passions:

encourage kids to find their passions
  • Figure out what your child likes. If you’re not sure, ask them.
  • Encourage them to expand their horizons and try new things.
  • Let them know that you’ll be happy if they pursue their passions, even if it takes some time before they find their true calling.
  • It’s okay to admit that you don’t know a lot about a particular activity or interest, but encourage your child to share more and listen. Ask questions.
  • Visit new places together. For example, join a local model train group if your kid is interested in trains.
  • Encourage them to pursue their passions with friends or alone. Kids may enjoy their activities more if they’re done with friends, but it’s essential that they also have time to pursue their interests without anyone else involved. 

Teach them that good things take time: 

  • Make it clear that you’ll support your child no matter how long it takes to find their passion.
  • When they struggle with something, encourage them to work at it. Remind them that everyone has challenges and that when you work at something, you get better at it.
  • Let your child know that they’ll get better with practice — even if they don’t feel like they are improving right away.
  • Celebrate small achievements, even if they’re not perfect.
  • Resist the urge to push them toward a particular activity they don’t like. Let them figure out what they want on their own.
  • Don’t try to get your child interested in activities that you enjoy or to think will be good for them. Let them find something they love.
  • Talk about athletes who practice often and make mistakes but keep working at it because of their interest in the sport and how much they enjoy it.  

Help them set goals and work towards achieving them: 

Help children set goals
  • Ask your child to write down what they want to do in the year ahead and teach them about time management and goal setting.
  • Encourage them to note down the benefits and rewards of their goals, even if they don’t get there sooner than planned.
  • Let them know that it’s okay to take breaks from their activities if needed. Be understanding about taking time for yourself rather than pushing yourself when you feel like giving up.
  • Read books together about people who have achieved their goals, such as biographies.
  • Look for ways to make the activity’s goals more specific, but don’t make them so hard that your kid loses interest.
  • Let them track their progress and celebrate it.
  • Talk about the courage it takes to achieve goals, even if you have to overcome challenges.  

Help them see the value in what they’re doing: 

  • Talk about how an activity can develop new skills.
  • Help your child realize that they’re developing confidence and a sense of self when they accomplish things or meet specific goals.
  • Better to learn how to build, fix, or work with something than to be a consumer of things already made. Encourage them to pay attention in class to use what they learned at home.
  • Describe how success builds upon itself and how effort leads to more action. 
  • Encourage them to set long-term goals, even if they don’t get there when you expect them to.
  • Remind them that they’re taking steps toward achieving a dream and reaching a goal.

The Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation For Your Child

benefits of intrinsic motivation

Children who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be able to make their own decisions and have a positive attitude about life. They tend to be:

  1. Committed – They are more likely to stick with the challenge at hand. They can direct their energy and attention to what they want.
  2. Confident – They know that they can succeed. The fact that they enjoy the process is a sign of confidence.
  3. Persistent – They see that they have the ability to achieve their goals, even if it takes time.
  4. Determined – They know what to do, not distracted by extrinsic rewards.
  5. Anticipation – They expect their effort to pay off, so they are motivated to keep going.
  6. Self-Aware – They understand how they work and know what to expect.
  7. Goal-Oriented – They don’t see the goal as an end. Instead, they see it as something that will help them reach their ultimate goals.
  8. Successful – They are capable of achieving their goals.
  9. Disciplined – They can control their impulses and align with what they want. They know how to be successful.
  10. Creative – They understand the importance of being original and creative.

Causes of Intrinsic Motivation

causes of intrinsic motivation

The following are some reasons that contribute to a person’s intrinsic motivation:

1. The Desire To Do It – You must have a desire to do something, whether it is a skill, behavior, or attitude. A child needs to have a desire to do something.

2. You Don’t Mind – If you don’t mind doing something, you are more likely to be motivated. 

3. You Love It – If you are motivated to do something, you will do it well.

4. You Enjoy It – If you enjoy doing something, you will enjoy it more.

5. I Like to Be Part of It – If you like being a part of something, you will want to be a part of the group and have fun doing it better than those who don’t like the activity.


Is your child intrinsically motivated? Do they enjoy their work? Are they motivated by rewards from outside? 

Well, we at Montessori Academy are experts in developing intrinsic motivation. We encourage our students to become self-motivated learners who can think for themselves and accomplish their goals. We believe that our children will be more successful if they are intrinsically motivated.

So, our curriculum is designed to develop a child’s intrinsic motivation by supporting their natural ability. By challenging them with various materials and activities, we help children develop their ideas and learn through their own experiences. 

If you have questions about your child’s performance, you are welcome to contact Montessori Academy. We would be happy to help you.


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