As fall approaches and school begins, it can be difficult to adjust to a new routine, especially if your child is beginning school for the first time. As the school months continue, many children lose motivation and may begin to perform poorly on assignments. But, as a parent, there are things you can do that may help to keep them motivated throughout the entire year.
Partner with Their Teachers
Communication with the teacher is vital to a child’s success and motivation. Before school starts, communicate any past challenges to the teacher. At least once a month, communicate with them to see if your child is having any trouble focusing, struggling in a certain area or is showing improvement in a previously difficult area.
When parents show interest in school, children are more likely to place value in education. Young children especially tend to become excited about things they believe their parents are excited about. Ask questions such as “How was your day?” and “What did you learn today?” to start a conversation with your child. By framing these questions as a conversation, rather than an interrogation, your child is likely to share details. Be sure to make it a two way conversation, especially with older children, by sharing details about your day.
Use Correct Rewards
Children respond well to social reinforcers like praises, hugs and high fives. Consider using rewarding activities that would have probably occurred either way, but placing them after a set amount of time doing homework. Food related treats, such as cookies and ice cream, should be reserved for special occasions only, such as completing a big project or doing well on a test.
Reward Hard Work
Rewarding the effort a child puts in, rather than the grade they recieve, teaches that effort matters. For children who make good grades easily, praise about the grade can teach them that they do not need to exert themselves to get a reward. Rather, praise your child for following through when things get difficult, on managing their time well or for just giving their best effort.
Let Them Make Mistakes
Not every assignment is going to receive an A. While children need encouragement to know that they could do better, let them know that setbacks are natural. Sometimes, the only way that a child can learn is to discover what happens when they are not fully prepared for an assignment or grade.
If you are a parent who is frustrated with homework, consider seeking help from an older student. Not only will a tutor keep you from getting frustrated when neither of you understand the problem, your child will most likely have more respect for someone closer to their age. Most high school and college tutors charge low rates, and as a bonus, they can use it on their college applications.
Lack of motivation may be caused by not feeling well or not being able to see the board clearly. Be sure to take your child to the doctor for a yearly physical. If you suspect vision problems, schedule them for an eye exam. Often, children don’t know that they are experiencing these issues, and it can lead to behavioral problems. Our office offers these services on a walk-in basis, with no appointment necessary.