Skip to Content

How to Motivate and Inspire a Spark in Your Lazy Child

It can be challenging to understand how to deal with a lazy child. Luckily, these 7 simple tips will help you give your unmotivated or lazy kids a spark.

About a month into the school year, I noticed a pretty obvious trend in our home.

If my daughter was home, she was laying on the couch, computer on lap, barking orders at us like we were her butler and short-order cook.

“Milk, please!” or “Cut up apple!” or “Go in my room and get my socks!”

Mind you, she was almost 10 years old and perfectly capable of doing these things for herself.

My daughter was also suddenly showing minimal effort at school. While I don’t expect perfect scores, I could tell that her most recent bad grade was from a lack of motivation.

It became crystal clear that she was in desperate need of a healthy push in life.

And I was determined to help her find that spark.

deal with a lazy kid

You may also like: Top 10 Signs of a Spoiled Teen

Underlying Causes of Laziness

When dealing with lazy children, the first thing to do is rule out certain root causes that could be contributing to laziness.

For example, could their poor performance at school be related to a learning disability? If you are seeing issues more significant than a missed homework assignment here or there, you may want to check with your child’s teacher.

Additionally, screen time addiction is a real thing. If your child is spending more time on video games or phones than interacting with peers or family members, it could be a sign that they need help balancing their screen time.

For more on breaking your kid’s screen addiction, click here.

Most importantly, laziness could be a sign of a mental health issue – such as depression or anxiety. Reach out to your health care provider right away if you feel that your child is losing interest in things that they used to enjoy.

If you are truly dealing with a lazy child, there are simple steps you can take to inspire them.

Also read: Which Parenting Style Defines You?

How to Deal with a Lazy Child

A new study out of John Hopkins found that many teens are actually as sedentary as people their grandparents’ age.

In fact, in a study of over 12,000 people, researchers noted that more than 25 percent of boys and a 50 percent of girls age 11 and under fell short of activity goals set by the World Health Organization.

Luckily, the best ways to help motivate lazy children are much easier than parents think.

Follow these 7 practical tips to encourage your child or teen:

1) Allow for Rest

Right now, you are most likely thinking “I thought this was tips on eliminating laziness, not encouraging it.”

I specifically put this one first because kids who are burnt out are going to be lazy. And in my personal experience, there are many modern kids who are overwhelmed with activities, sports, and events.

Children need free time. And they need a short break after a stressful situation or busy day.

Do not label them as a lazy kid for wanting to chill and recharge.

In fact, if you have a busy child, schedule time for them to sit and relax from time to time.

You May Also like: Why Lazy Parenting Leads to the Best Kids

2) Proactively Teach Life Skills

Your child can’t do things for themself if you don’t give them the opportunity.

When you give your kids the necessary skills to take care of themselves, they become more independent – resulting in self-motivation.

Teach your kids these 5 life skills to give them the tools to get things done on their own.

motivate lazy kid

Want to Raise Resilient Kids?: Teach your kid the importance of hard work with these tips

3) Preach the Importance of Self Reward

Responsible kids typically have pride in themselves. There are simple ways you, as a parent, can teach personal responsibility and self-motivation to your children.

First, a great way to ingrain this in your child is to teach them about taking care of their body. Educate them on the importance of physical health (proper nutrition and exercise) and mental health (taking time to relax and do self affirmations). Click here for other self-care tips designed for raising motivated kids.

Don’t miss out on these tips and printable worksheets that teach kids about goal setting.

4) Encourage Household Chores

Simple tasks and daily chores are a great way to get your lazy child in the habit of helping out around the house.

Chore charts and checklists can be a terrific motivator and are great for both younger and older kids.

If you believe in giving allowance or rewards for helping out, it can help teach your child financial responsibility also.

Additionally, giving your child the opportunity to do additional voluntary activities and chores for a small reward can help our the entire family.

Read: Age-appropriate child chores, checklists, and ideas.

5) Focus on Quality Time

Anchor Routines are activities, habits, and traditions that intentionally connect you (or anchor you) to your family. 

Connecting with your family members can help everyone stay engaged and motivated at home. It can also help you deal with a lazy child who doesn’t want to interact at home.

Consider what an actual anchor does: it prevents a ship from drifting away. Similarly, for human, anchor habits and routines keep them in their intended direction.

When I first heard of anchor routines, it was in regards to being productive with your goals. However, I realized how valuable these types of traditions are in creating a solid and stable family foundation.

Consider some of the following anchor routines:

  • Family board games
  • Outdoor activities like a regular hike
  • Making pizzas together as a family on the weekend
  • Saturday morning bacon and eggs
  • Movie night on the weekend
  • Get take out on Friday nights
  • Monthly family meeting
  • Mom and dad date night
  • Holiday/vacation/weekend adventures

How does your family spend quality time together?

lazy child or teen

Related: Identify and Prevent Narcissistic Behavior in Children

6) Natural consequences

Set expectations at home to make sure your child understands what is expected of them.

Do you expect your child to make their bed every morning, or clear the dinner table, or get up on their own in the morning?

Clearly explain these standards to your child and respond with gentle, natural consequences if they don’t follow directions properly.

7) Be Role models

Lastly, as parents you can be a good role model for your child.

Set a good example by taking care of yourself and demonstrating self-love and self-care.

Talk to your kids about your own goals, how you plan to achieve them, and why it is important to you.

Also – lay off the social media in front of your kid. When you constantly scroll, it can teach your children that is how they should be spending all of their free time.

Also like: How to Bond with Your Son During his Teenage Years

Final Thoughts on How to Deal with a Lazy Child

These 7 tips will give your child a healthy sense of responsibility and can help squash lazy behavior.

You will notice your child in a good mood when they made a personal choice to help out, complete chores, and do things that help them grow into adults.

When we started taking these steps with my daughter, she decided to join a softball team, started regularly reading books, and she keeps her room clean.

I am proud to say that I was able to officially retire from my former role of short order cook and butler to my previously lazy child.

You may also like: One Tough Love Parenting Hack that Will Help you Raise Strong Kids

For more totally honest and extremely effective parenting tips, follow us on Facebook.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Monday 4th of December 2023

This sounds so nice but it still has me asking what to do with my lazy 6 year old. He is not addicted to screens at all as we almost never allow it. I have tried to make chores a game or fun, like we have challenge charts with a small treasure after 7 days of making his bed. But after a few days on and off he has just decided that he doesn’t care and won’t make his bed. So you say use gentle natural consequences… what?! I’m so frustrated with his willingness to blow off things he can do just fine. Also he’s so unmotivated with his school work and I’m torn between if it’s too easy or too hard.


Tuesday 5th of December 2023

Thats challenging for sure! A natural consequence to not working at school would be to allow him to do poorly and feel bad - but if he doesn't feel bad that makes it difficult. Is there anyway to motivate him like with a "chart" (get 5 checks and earn $5)?

The Top 10 Signs of a Spoiled Teenager and How to Fix the Damage - Simply Rooted Family

Tuesday 25th of October 2022

[…] how Motivate Lazy Kids […]

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.