If you browse the internet you can find countless articles written about how you can motivate a child through the use of many different reward and punishment systems. The problem with these is generally that they only take into account external behavior influences. When you just look at these factors it is really easy to make mistakes as you try to help the child. According to the MCUSA, learning about internal influences is really important, especially when referring to the temperament of the child.
The most important thing to remember is that temperament is something that you do not choose. You have this at birth. The temperament of the child determines the way in which he/she act or react when exposed to different situations, ideas and people. The 4 temperament types are phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric. While fully understanding the temperament of a child is difficult even for psychologists, some general things should be remembered.
A choleric child will take charge and loves to be in complete control. Normally, these children are naturally born leaders, they are filled with energy and can easily set personal goals. Motivation is normally not a problem. When motivation is a problem, the solution is challenging the child. All cholerics love challenges and competition. When something is too easy, the challenge has to be more difficult.
A melancholic child is a perfectionist, is sensitive, introvert, slow to react, analytical and has high ideals. If there are motivation problems present in the life of the melancholic child, it is usually because of their natural desire to do things in a perfect way. Overanalyzing situations becomes common and this can stop their growth. Motivate these children by finding ways to help them to focus on things that are important and teach them how to set specific goals.
Sanguine children are naturally extrovert, optimists, love fun and enthusiastic. These are practically the compete opposites of the melancholic children. It is not that hard to motivate a sanguine child. The real problem stands in remaining motivated. Help such children to focus on details and not just on big pictures. Make sure that you do not remove something that allows them to have fun as this also causes motivation problems.
Phlegmatic children rarely get angry, are dependable, loyal, cooperative and calm when faced with pressure. Confrontation and conflict are not liked and tend to be avoided. Motivating such children is all about showing support. You do not want to nag them. If this happens, they resist more. Remember that a phlegmatic child is naturally cooperative and truly open to advice. All that is needed is to ask nicely.
Every child is motivated in a different way. You want to truly get to know the child in order to figure out the natural temperament and to see what might work and what will do more harm than good. Close observation over an extended time frame is necessary for this. Remember that temperaments do come in combination. There is a primary temperament and a secondary temperament. Both need to be taken into account when you try to motivate children.