Intrinsic Motivation

Learning and growth are idiosyncratic processes. One guiding factor in a child’s approach to learning is the source of motivation. Does their motivation come from within or do they rely on external rewards to continue an activity? We’re sharing an article this week that explains this crucial distinction, why it matters, and the best parenting practices to encourage autonomous motivation: (

“Intrinsically motivated children are more involved in their own learning and development. In other words, a child is more likely to learn and retain information when he is intrinsically motivated – when he believes he is pleasing himself.”

Staying involved and engaged in a child’s growth and paying attention to milestones are natural aspects of good parenting. Allowing children the space to learn on their own and being specific and intentional with involvement are equally important. Children are hardwired to want to learn and grow. By trusting in a child’s intrinsic motivation to learn, we can sidestep the dangers of over involvement.

“Parents should be very cautions about the use of many extrinsic rewards, as this can severely interfere with the child’s motivational development. Praise for an accomplishment is appropriate, but be sure that your child is doing a task because she is interested, not because she thinks it will bring praise from you.”

Blooming Bébé classes are a wonderful space for parents, caregivers and children to dance, learn, and grow together. We love when the adults in the room focus on the group and participate in the exercises. We also love to see children develop autonomous motivation to join in the fun.

Some Bloomers learn by watching before they decide to participate. This doesn’t mean they are falling behind or missing out. More often than not, the observant little ones are building an internal desire to move. If this intrinsic motivation is fostered and encouraged by the adults around them, it is sure to lead them to great success and accelerated learning throughout life. We’d love to hear about your child’s motivation! Do they seem inclined to favor particular activities?


Carlton, Martha, PhD. (2003). Motivating Learning in Young Children.