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Motivating your Child, Even When they are in Pain

What is something that has been motivating for your child, even when they are in pain? I call these strange medicines. They are activities that activate our kids’ internal pharmacy and release happy hormones like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. Some of Greta’s strange medicines have been…

Selling things on Facebook Marketplace – even in her worst pain she would get up to answer the door when someone wanted to buy something. Getting out of bed to take photos of things to sell was motivating, getting a ding on her phone when someone was interested was motivating, and getting money from selling something was really motivating!

Baking – there was a time when Greta did a lot of baking. It worked well because it only requires small amounts of energy spread out throughout the day (or week). Buying the ingredients, mixing them, baking them, and decorating the product was inspiring for her. She watched baking shows, bought cookbooks, and loved trips to the bulk food store to get ingredients.

Getting a new pet – we have done this several times over the past 5 years and each time it is highly motivating. If only cats could stay kittens then the entertainment would last longer.

Designing Stickers – Greta started designing and marketing stickers. The designing was inspiring, the marketing was novel and fun and the ding on her phone when someone purchased or liked her item gave her a shot of happy hormones each time.

Going through mementos, organizing and de-cluttering with Grandma - somehow going through old stuff at grandma's house has been motivating for Greta. She can be in a lot of pain and still come home feeling better. This distraction from her pain has been helpful over the years.

Other motivators for her have been art, sewing, getting her driver’s license, and doing a small part-time job from home. I must admit that we have sometimes gone overboard trying to support any of Greta’s interests because we were desperate for her to have a reason to get out of bed. But I kind of think that all these have been a medicine of sorts for her. Motivation is so key to becoming functional and participating in life again. And finding ways to boost some of your child's happy hormones can be a great way to support their mental health.

~ Carla

The general contents of this website are provided solely for educational and informational purposes and are not meant to provide professional medical or psychiatric advice, counselling or therapeutic services.


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