Tutor Doctor | Jul 23, 2015

How to Motivate your Children

Categories: Elementary School, High School, Middle School, K-12

Do you spend most of your time nagging? If your child has ever received a report card that was less than stellar, or you think they just aren’t fulfilling their potential, you may need a little help with motivation. A lack of motivation doesn’t just affect their grades, it can cause them to be disorganized, to forget their chores and to always feel bored, especially over the summer holidays. Now with these helpful tips, you can instill a sense of self-motivation that will propel them towards success.

Inherited Indifference

Studies show that 40-50% of a child’s attitudes about school are inherited. If you feel negatively about your own schooling, or constantly criticise your child’s school or teacher, they may find it hard to muster some enthusiasm. While you may have your reservations, discuss them directly with school authorities or the teacher and don’t be too vocal when your child is around.

Executive Functioning is Key

While being organized, getting things done and allocating enough time for tasks comes naturally to you, it isn’t intrinsic. These are all learned skills that require constant practice and reinforcement. As parenting styles become more hands-on, children may lag behind in learning these essential life skills that will make them successful in learning and in their careers.

Without these executive skills, your child just doesn’t know how to initiate tasks, stay focused, be organized, leave enough time for studying or initiate tasks. Get an in-home tutor that also teaches executive skills so that they can be independent learners for life.

Here are a few more ways to motivate:

Don’t nag: These kinds of power struggles aren’t good for anyone and they only makes the task drag out and seem more awful for you and your child. Ask them to do their homework or chores, set a deadline and spell out the consequences, then stick to them. This may mean letting them go to school with unfinished homework to face the consequences there.

Go with what works: While you may feel that your child should sit at their desk or the dining room table and do their homework in silence, this may not work for everyone. Try different things and go with what gets the job done. That could be sitting on a ball chair, putting the desk outside, removing siblings from the room or withholding the wifi password until homework is complete.

Limit screen time: You know how you sit down to check the weather and three hours later you are still in front of the computer? Well that happens to everyone, so limit screen time and encourage your child to get outside and do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Celebrate success: When they do their chores without being asked, improve their grades, finish their homework on time or get through a whole week without forgetting a single textbook, offer some positive reinforcement. Everything from praise to a reward will help to show the positive consequences of self-motivation.

Pic by Artotem