Each stage of your child’s development comes with its joys and challenges. Some are easily resolved and only temporary, while others seem to last forever and have no solution. One of the most difficult challenges many parents face is how to motive their child. Parents are well aware of how important it is to do well in school. So, what should you do if your child isn’t staying engaged in school? We’ve highlighted the three best ways to help your child get motivated and stay engaged in his or her studies. Here are our top tips:
Focus on the reward
Positive feelings are strong motivators. Many students haven’t gone through real successes and may not have set goals, which is why it can be difficult for them to feel like success is tangible. They’re also still young and may have the impression that time is limitless, and wasting sometime early on is no big deal. But as any adult will know, this isn’t true.
Although you can’t force them to understand the consequences of their actions, you can help them realise how rewarding it can be to set and accomplish goals. Helping them imagine how hard work can have a fantastic payoff can be done in many ways and is up to you and your child. If the benefits of a top results aren’t motivating enough for your child yet, you could try setting up a reward (dinner out? Ice cream? Gift? Etc.) to show your child how proud you are of him or her.
It’s important that you child knows he or she can succeed and that you believe it’s possible. If they can feel that you believe in them, they will start to believe it themselves. The younger they experience success, the more likely they will continue to aim for it. Parents expectations plays a huge role in a child’s approach and outcome, which leads us to our second point.
Set up clear expectations
When children have clear expectations, it allows them to work towards goals more easily. When the boundaries and goals are clear and stable, a child will feel more secure and can work towards a set challenge with confidence. They don’t have a lot of past experience to draw on, which is why a parent must be there to guide a child based on their wisdom.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to forcefully push your past onto your child’s present. It simply means that you understand the effort, time and dedication required. You understand that learning from mistakes is key and that standing back up after falling is more important than how many times you fell. These may be cliché sayings, but they are known for a reason.
Children may not have enough life experience to understand this, which is why you are here to help by setting expectations and guiding them through each challenge. Knowing you are there to help and guide your child is what will allow your child to feel secure and supported, and therefore confident enough to tackle any challenge. You are there to provide the structure and support. Clear expectations can include doing well at school, putting in consistent effort to do homework, choosing an extracurricular (such as a sport or musical instrument) and sticking to it for at least a year (showing the importance of dedication) or any other goal you think is important for your child to achieve.
Allow your child to have some autonomy
Although it’s important to be there for your child, encouraging the reward and setting the expectation, it’s also important for your child to feel somewhat independent. If the expectations feel more like pressure, all your good intentions could backfire.
A good approach, though sometimes challenging, is to make sure your child is aware that there are expectations that must be met, but not feel too stressed about being perfect or meeting your demands. It has to be a balance between listening to you, and feeling like the reward is for their own benefit. For example, if you know how important it is for your child to read, and you want him or her to spend some free time reading, then it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s a fine line between expectation and pressure. Too much pressure can lead to resentment, which will then be counterproductive for your child’s development and motivation.
By making this activity fun, and allowing your child to choose the book, you can make it seem like a joint project. If your goal is to have your child put in more effort into his or her homework and achieve higher marks, then setting up certain rules (like no TV before the work is done) to keep your child organised, could help your child develop important homework habits. In addition, agreeing on a reward once that exam is done or a high mark is achieved should help your child feel more motivate and learn how to work towards a goal.
Communicate Openly and Often
This may seem obvious, but remembering to encourage and keep an open and judgmental free house is crucial. Children may not always share everything with their parents, but it’s important for them to feel like if they want to share then they can. Family meetings are a very effective way to help the family feel close and encourage open discussion among all members.
Have High Expectations
Both academically and generally, it’s very important to have high expectations. It helps guide your child in the right direction. This doesn’t always have to be done explicitly. Most children are very sensitive to what their parents expect, both out of life and out of them. So, showing them that you value education, dedication and achieving goals will directly rub off on your child in many ways. As the article Is your work ethic rooted in the quality of the relationship you had with your parents? highlights: “overall, there was a small but statistically significant correlation between the quality of the participants’ teen relationships with their parents and their current work attitude and work ethic”. From this, we can see that parents’ high expectations in regards to their own work will directly influence their child, and set the drive of the family as a whole.
Remember: mistakes will happen. But if you child knows that the risk of failing is worth taking, then your child will begin to value exploring and pushing their boundaries. It’s important to note that your approach to failure will have a powerful impact on your child’s approach to failure, as discussed in the article Parents’ Views of Failure Predict Children’s Fixed and Growth Intelligence Mind-Set. In fact, we believe learning how to deal and grow from failure is so important that we’ve written the blog Leaning from Failure, to help parents and students reassess their approach to making mistakes.
Setting up healthy eating and sleeping habits is another key part of helping your child thrive academically. It’s an obvious one, but something that is mainly taught at home, not at school, and will have long-term benefits academically and personally.
Set up Healthy Homework Habits
This is also something that parents will greatly influence. Setting up a consistent homework schedule will help your child develop a follow-through, persistence and a goal-oriented approach. Homework is rarely fun, but a very important part of learning how to work through problems independently, even if struggles arise. If you’re looking for a few more tips and ideas about how to help your child set up healthy homework habits, check out our blog A Parent’s Guide: 5 steps to help your child do homework.
How to help your child build crucial study skills
Motivating your child to study is crucial for their future career success, but you also need to help them build the studying skills by giving them some structure. Here are some recommendations:
1. Set up a study routine.
Setting up a specific amount of time for their studies will help your child get used to the routine studying requires. This will help your child develop healthy study habits. Setting up time each day to study will allow studying to come easily to your child. The younger you start the better. It doesn’t have to be long, especially at the beginning. Stating with 30 minutes should suffice. As they progress at school, you can slowly increase the amount. Each child is also different, so some may need more time to accomplish certain exercises. The important part is getting them used to a routine from a young age.
2. Let your child do their first attempt on their own.
Give your child enough time to try to figure it out on their own first. They may get a bit frustrated but that’s an important part of the process. If they are given the explanation too quickly, it won’t allow them to develop patience and important problem-solving skills. Learning how to develop the ability to try to figure things out before asking for help will not only help them in school, but in life as well.
3. Engage with them and their work.
Having your child also feel supported and listened to is another crucial part of developing healthy study skills. Showing your engagement in their work will not only boost their confidence but also allow them to know how much you value their education. If they know their education is important to you, then they will begin to value it as well. This doesn’t have to be done with anything extravagant. Simply consistently showing an interest in their studies, and that you are there to support them as they progress, is all that they need.
4. Listen to your child’s interests and try to encourage and explore them together.
It may take a little time before you or your child knows where their interests lay. But if you start to notice an inclination, it could help build their confidence and enthusiasm if they know you support them. This doesn’t mean you need to try to narrow down their potential career as soon as possible. Instead, try to encourage their intellectual curiosity. You never know where an interest or subject may lead them. It doesn’t hurt to explore different option and interests, slowly building a map of the different things that stimulate their mind and energy. Who knows, an interest in story telling could lead them to journalism, social psychology or doctoral research. You never know where a passion could take them. The fun is in the exploration and enthusiasm.
That sums up the four important steps to help your child develop their study skills. We hope that these suggestions will be helpful for you and your child. If you have any questions or concerns about anything related to your child’s academic path, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 02030867311 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.