Ten Ways Parents Can Motivate Students
The District is focusing on the theme of “Motivation” this year. How can we motivate students to do their best? Motivated children do better in school and enjoy the challenge of learning new things.
We recognize that parents have the most influence over a child’s motivation. Parents’ actions and attitudes are the most important factors in motivating children. Several parents have asked for ideas to motivate their children. Here are ten ways to motivate children:
Help your child set goals for himself/herself. As your child meets the goal, celebrate the success. Goals can be small such as making a bed or learning to write his/her name. Older children can set more difficult goals such as keyboarding speed or finishing a report early.
Give your child your undivided attention. The time you spend talking and listening to your child will help him to do his best. Focus on attention for good behavior rather than bad behavior.
Develop responsibility in your child by assigning chores at home. Chores help a child see that everyone in the family has a responsibility that is important in making the home a better place.
Reward your child with time together, not money or presents. For a job done well, let your child choose something the whole family can enjoy, like playing a game or watching a video.
Show your child how to break big tasks into manageable projects. If a child feels overwhelmed, he won’t be motivated to try. If you want your child to clean his room, say, “You are going to clean your room today. Do you want to start by cleaning under the bed or would you rather start with the sock drawer?” As your child completes each task, he will gain motivation and confidence and keep going until the job is completed. You need to do the same with reports and projects for school.
Help your child to choose an activity to do after school. Let your child do something he/she is interested in pursuing. It could be sports, dance lessons, or crafts. Children who have successes in other areas are more motivated to be successful at school.
Encourage your child to compete against himself. Today you did your math facts in 60 seconds. Tomorrow, see if you can set a new personal record. Some children prolong tasks they do not want to do. Try getting them to “Beat the Clock”. Have them finish the work before the clock reaches a certain time.
Promote your child’s creativity and problem solving abilities. Have your child think of a problem and brainstorm possible solutions. Select one solution to try. Encourage your child to see problems and obstacles as interesting challenges.
Listen to what you say to your child. Your attitude is passed on to your child. If you say, “I don’t know why the teacher gave you that homework,” your child might think it is not important to do. Your excitement about school and your child’s learning will be contagious to your child.
Give specific praise to your child. Instead of saying, “You are a great kid,” try to be specific and give examples: “You are a great kid because you took out the garbage without being asked.” Praise can be very motivating to children.
Parents are the ones that can help children get excited about important issues. That excitement can turn into motivation that will last a lifetime!