How To Motivate Your Child at School
Homework. Often a key battleground between parents and children.
If you are fortunate enough to have a child who independently gets on with after school work, spare a thought for all those parents who undertake daily cajoling of sons and daughters.
Realistically, reluctance to get started on homework is fairly common. But what happens when this lack of motivation spills over into school life as well. Is there anything parents can do to help?
- Keep a relationship with your kids that is open, respectful and positive.Stay on your kids’ team, don’t play against them. This will allow you to be most influential with them, which is your most important parenting tool. Punishing, preaching, and threatening will get you nowhere and will be detrimental to your relationship and to their ultimate motivation. Remember, your child is not behaving this way on purpose to make your life miserable or because they are lazy good-for-nothings. When you feel yourself getting worked up, try saying to yourself, “My child is just not there yet.” Remember, your job is to help them learn how to be responsible.
- Incorporate the “when you” rule.One of life’s lessons is that we get the goodies after we do the work. So start saying things like, “When you finish studying you are welcome to go to Gavin’s house.” Or “When your homework is completed, we can discuss watching that movie you wanted to see on Netflix.” Enforce this rule and stick to it.
- Ask the teacher.If your child’s grades and work habits are not up to par, you can set up a plan by sitting down with him and his teachers. He might have to check with them to make sure he has everything before leaving school, and then check with you before going back to school to make sure all his work is in his bag. Once your child gets better at managing his time, completing his work and reviewing his subjects before tests, then it’s time for you to back off.
- Identify a study spot.You may need to sit with your child while she’s doing her work or at least be nearby to help her stay on track. She may need a quiet location away from brothers and sisters or she may do better in a room near others.
- Break it down.Decide together whether or not it will be helpful to your child for you to help him break down his assignments into small pieces and organise on a calendar what he should get done each day. You can get him a big wall calendar or a white board.
- Be kind but firm.Try your best to be a parent who is kind, helpful, consistent and firm versus punitive, over-functioning and controlling. For every negative interaction with your child, try to create ten positive ones. Try to put the focus on supporting and encouraging him instead of worrying and nagging.
- Teach life balance.Remember to always keep the big picture in mind. Rather than go crazy over your child’s grades, help her to balance her life with friendships, other activities, volunteer work and family activities. Get involved with her school activities when you can and take an interest in her school projects.
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