1. INCENTIVES: Our education system is built around extrinsic motivators. ​ Educators and parents default to external rewards and consequences because it’s easy and works short term. Here's the problem with this approach: ​ First, external rewards don’t work forever. There is a limit to how many rewards we can promise and give, and after some time, it becomes repetitive and boring. After the short-term benefit of a reward ends, the child’s motivation typically fades. ​ Second, and more concerning: What are we teaching kids when we promise a reward to get them to do something? Kids who are extrinsically motivated have a skewed notion of how to learn. They do things for the reward or to avoid punishment, rather than for the sake of learning. ​ The good news is that by using the right incentives, we can help kids develop the inner motivation that will push them to keep learning on their own. In this article I share what worked for me as a teacher, and what you can try at home with your kids. Hint: I said no to rewards :) ​ 2. FAILURE: One thing successful people have in common is their ability to try to do something hard, fail, learn from their failure, and then go on to try again. ​ These people didn’t learn this in school. Failure in school is penalized with a bad grade that goes on your permanent record. This makes kids avoid failure at all costs. And yet getting comfortable with failure is what leads to achieving big things in life. ​ Fab Tip: Encourage kids to undertake activities where small failures are a likely outcome, just so they get used to failing. Have them try out for the soccer team even if they’re not that good, or play chess against older and more experienced kids. ​ When kids experience failure in safe environments, they become more resilient. They also begin to realize that there’s something much worse than failing: Not trying because of fear of failure. ​ 3. PRAISE: When offering words of encouragement, be specific so kids know exactly what they are doing well. Don’t just say “good work!” Good work on what? ​ A good rule of thumb: recognize effort, not ability recognize ethics over achievement recognize the process, not the outcome recognize curiosity, perseverance, and a growth mindset over completion of tasks