School—from kindergarten on up—is often overwhelming. The unrelenting workload, social pecking order, and pressure to succeed makes it easy for any kid to want to throw in the towel.
And as a parent, you’re concerned. You want your child to stay motivated in school, to thrive.
Finding the motivation to study is easier said than done, especially in a world fraught with distractions.
TikTok, YouTube, PlayStation, and friends (if you’re a parent to a teen, there’s also the more-than-friends friends) are far more appealing than learning the square root of pi or the Emancipation Proclamation.
But your little human is just that—human. They’re hardwired to learn. Some kids simply need a push here or a nudge there, small strategies to help them stay motivated in school.
Parents, kids, and teachers need to be on the same page to share the student’s struggles and successes.
Teachers can’t do it all. Classroom sizes have ballooned over the years. So, reach out—they want and need your help.
Communicate outside the classroom as well. When they’re home, encourage your kids to open up.
At dinner, ask them how history class went, or about their upcoming math test. Share your day, too. It’s a conversation, not an interrogation.
Keep all lines of communication open—and be open-minded.
Also, help them with their studies. And, as tempting as it may be, don’t do their homework for them (it happens more than you’d think).
You’re a coach – coaches don’t play.
Provide your kids with a quiet place to study and a whiteboard to jot down reminders to themselves.
Help them maintain a calendar. Hang it on their bedroom wall and write down homework due dates, upcoming exams, and deadlines for long-term projects.
Be consistent. A solid routine creates structure. It’ll help reduce conflict in the long run and homework will become a habit.
Pencil in time for clubs, sports, and playtime as well. They’re just as important as grades for developing minds.
When your child is done penning that German economics paper, let them unwind with outdoor activities.
Empower Your Child
Speaking of schedules and downtime, give your kid a say when it comes to those all-important brain breaks. You can’t expect a child to study in three-hour blocks, they can only retain so much.
Let them decide when they need some free time. Just make sure they don’t take advantage of your flexibility.
The more control kids have, the more engaged and motivated they are. Encourage yours to explore subjects they find interesting. Learn what they’re good at and nurture those strengths.
And let them know the actions they take now will shape their future. Power over their fate will develop a sense of responsibility.
Celebrate the Wins
It’s important to recognize every child’s achievements.
While you shouldn’t slip them a hundred-dollar bill for every A grade—material rewards are troublesome.
When they nail that English quiz, make a big deal out of it.
Dish out high fives and pats on the back. Treat them to a burger from their favorite fast food joint, or hunker down with them in front of the television and let them pick the movie.
Make time together the reward.
Be an education cheerleader by showing rousing enthusiasm for learning. Break out the pom-poms if you need to.
Your younger kids feed off of your excitement—get super-duper pumped about school and they’ll mirror your gusto.
Maintaining a positive attitude will change how your child views school. It also lets them know you’re in their corner.
Let Them Fail
Mistakes are inevitable—and necessary. Failure fosters a growth mindset.
Youngsters who accept their missteps move forward. There’s always the next test, essay, or science project.
Don’t forget, the relationship you have with your child is a two-way street.
Share your own failures. Let your kid know you’re just like them.
Set your phone aside, don’t interrupt, and give them your full attention.
When they tell you a certain subject or assignment is hard—it is, even if it doesn’t seem that way to you. Show an interest in matters other than school.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand their point of view, but you were a kid once. For perspective, take yourself back to a time when the world was too big.
When a child feels understood, they’ll feel safe and open to new ideas. Mostly, they simply want to know you’re there for them.
School motivation isn’t a one-off. Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Building healthy habits now will pay dividends over the course of a child’s entire life.
It’s all about the effort, not the grades. If they put in the work those A and B grades will follow.
Your child needs your help to find the motivation to study, day in and day out. You have wisdom to impart and you play a huge role in your child’s development.
Just be patient, and again—listen. You may learn a thing or two yourself.