by Chris Hudson

7 simple ways to motivate your son these holidays

Teenage Boy Laying On A Sofa Wrapped in A Duvet

For boys to feel motivated, they need three things: structure, responsibility, and autonomy. The long summer break can take one, or all, of these three things away, and as a result, boys can develop unhealthy routines and become demotivated.

Here are 7 simple ways to help you combat your son’s holiday laziness.

  1. Set expectations

One way of avoiding slothful boys over summer is setting clear expectations up front. Explain the summer break should be refreshing for everyone in the family, and for that to happen each member of the family needs to contribute to doing their bit. 

  1. Set up routines

Boys thrive on structure. The simplest way to avoid daily struggles is to create a form of routine for the family home during holidays. This doesn’t have to be a strict timetable, but rather some simple limits and time boundaries to manage common obstacles.

Set time limits on different activities each day:

  • Set times of the day to be ‘screen free’ (i.e. no TV, internet, or gaming).
  • Prescribe a certain amount of physical/outdoor activity each day.
  • Make at least one meal a day a family meal, where every member of the household has to attend if at home.

Importantly, don’t let your son sit up later and later at night until he is almost nocturnal. A tired boy will be an unmotivated boy. It’s ok to let him go to bed and sleep in a little later during holidays, but set limits at both ends of the day and stick to them.

  1. Give him choice

Tap into your son’s desire for autonomy. Instead of prescribing responsibilities and expectations, give him some choice about what he will contribute and when he will do it.

  1. Find stuff he likes doing

It is a lot easier to motivate people to do things they naturally like doing, so be smart about the choices you give your son with regards to chores or contributions. If your boy is interested in cooking, then make cooking or grocery shopping part of his contribution. If he is an outdoors hands-on type of kid, then give him responsibilities in the yard or for the family car.

  1. Give him a project

Instead of only giving your son repetitive chores, try to think of a constructive project for him to complete over the course of the summer break. Do you need a part of the backyard garden replanted, or a spare room painted? Give your son a meaningful project, a budget, a deadline and some gentle guidance and you’ll be surprised what he can achieve.

  1. Incentivise

Motivate your son to stick to his commitments by linking fun holiday activities and privileges, such as going to the movies or staying over at friend’s house, with the completion of agreed chores and tasks on time.

  1. Avoid parenting patterns that demotivate

Stick to the following rules of summer holiday engagement:

  • No nagging: Make a mutual agreement and let him know the consequence if he doesn’t keep up his part of the deal. If he fails to do his part, don’t hassle him. Simply follow through on the agreed consequences. He’ll get the message pretty quickly.
  • No micro-managing: Set expectations, limits, and boundaries then step back and let him do his thing.
  • No inconsistency: Apply expectations, incentives and consequences fairly and age appropriately for all your children.


Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Chris Hudson is a youth expert, parenting coach and the editor of Understanding Teenagers. Find him at This article is about


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