Some kids enjoy going to school, consistently receive high grades and are even self-motivated when it comes to homework and learning beyond what is taught in school. Others may appear disinterested and may seem to lack focus. The majority of students fall somewhere in between. Unless your child is clearly motivated, you may as a parent wonder if there is more that you can do to encourage a desire to learn.
As a parent, there are countless things that you can do to help your child even if they do not appear to want to learn. Exploring, learning, and expanding knowledge are natural parts of the human experience. We do all have our own unique methods of expressing how we learn, we all thrive in a different environment, and well have different needs, but we can all learn. Encouraging your child to be motivated is important for excelling in school and beyond. By taking the time to understand your child’s unique methods, strengths, and needs, motivation is possible.
Especially if you that your child is not too interested in their academic performance, stay involved with their education. According to research-based findings by the University of Illinois Center for Parent-Child Studies, being involved in a child’s academic life is one of the most important steps you can take.
How do you do this? Ask your child what they’re learning. It’s as simple as that. Make it a goal for yourself as the parent to always be aware of what lessons your child is presently learning in school by talking about them. This is also a great way for you to come up with ways to make things more interesting and dynamic. For example, if your child is studying the life cycle of trees, go for a nature hike and try to identify different species based on trunk and leaf characteristics. If they are learning about history, try to find a history-related movie they can watch.
Talk About The Learning Experience
It is not only important to be interested in test papers and semester grades but to also talk to your child about their learning experience as well. What do they enjoy? Did anything spark their interest? Is there any area where they could use your help? Also, it does help to keep an open dialogue about experiences (positive or negative) with other students and teachers. The more you talk with your child, the more you will be able to understand what school is actually right for them.
Make learning and school a positive experience. This means sharing positive experiences that you may have had as a child as well as focusing on having a positive attitude when helping them with homework. Emphasize strengths and give praise when it is due. This will help your child feel comfortable coming to you for help with homework and problems they may be having in school.
At the same time, one hundred percent praise isn’t productive; always be honest and point out mistakes so children have the opportunity to correct them and improve. Always keep your approach positive rather than negative or overly critical. Teach your child that it is all right to make a mistake but figuring out how to correct the mistake or solve the problem is important. This can help to turn frustration into focus.
Help your child develop good homework habits and studying expectations. Designate an area of the house for them, such as a desk in their room or a space at the kitchen table, where they can do their homework. Set a time each day for school work and studying to be done, such as right after school. Make it a comfortable experience by keeping the noise and distractions to a minimum, helping them get started, or providing a healthy snack.
It is also important to help your child develop expectations. What grades do they expect? Help them always focus on improving. If their last math test was mediocre, help them practice so they can confidently get a better score on the next one. Set goals with your child every day, week, month and year.
It is also important to help your child develop expectations. What grades do they Aside from staying involved, guiding with a positive attitude and helping to develop a routine and expectations, you can also take extra steps to spark your child’s interest:
- Visit local museums
- Go on nature walks, exploring a different topic each time
- Make a weekly trip to the library and help them find books on subjects that interest them
- Encourage creativity by setting aside a team each week for painting, drawing, making stories or doing crafts
- Consider music or dance lessons
- Encourage physical activity. Exercise improves brain function and may help get rid of some of that extra energy kids have that cane make sitting down to homework difficult.
Avoid behaviors that will put negative or stressful connotations on school and learning, such as bribing, threatening, focusing on grades instead of what is being learned and being too critical.