The pandemic has affected us all greatly in so many ways. We had to social distance, wear masks, and quarantine ourselves. For those in school, a lot changed for them as well. They didn’t have the chance to socialize with friends. Class was essentially home school learning, and parents became much more involved in their child’s education.
Returning back to school this fall, parents may want to know how they can help their child feel motivated in school. Online school is difficult and many children struggle through it. Learning material all by themselves and not having classmates to discuss it with, was hard. It’s normal that your child may be hesitant to return to school.
However, you want to help your child feel motivated in school again. You want them to feel excited to learn about their favorite subjects and spend time with their peers again. Returning to the classroom can feel intimidating for both them and you, the parents. It’s important to encourage your child to do their very best and have fun with it.
If your child struggles with motivation in school, you may be worried about what the next school year might look like. You want them to feel prepared and good about themselves while learning, even if the subject matter is hard.
You have the power to help your child feel motivated in school! And, to help them feel confident about their abilities in school. Every child is different and learns differently, so it’s important to always practice patience and understanding with your child!
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How to Help Your Child Feel Motivated in School: Be involved
Be involved with your child and their homework. As parents, your involvement in their academics is very important. Not only will your child feel enormous support from you, but they will feel support for themselves! Do homework or projects with your child. And by that, don’t do it for them but just be there for them!
This can look like reviewing some tough math questions together. Without figuring the problem out for them, guide them through the steps. Homework can be frustrating and overwhelming, leaving children feeling upset while doing it.
Show your child that they can accomplish it by going through the process. Examining the numbers, deciding which mathematical method to use, and finding the answer. You could come up with your own math equations, solve them, and give them to your child to solve.
When you show interest in your child’s homework, they will also feel interested in themselves. You are essentially showing them that it’s worthwhile and exciting to learn about things. At a young age, your child looks up to you as their role model. Therefore, it’s important that you are enthusiastic about their homework to model the behavior you wish to see out of them.
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How to Help Your Child Feel Motivated in School: Don’t set high expectations for them
As parents, we only want to see our child succeed. We want to ensure they are maintaining good grades, learning effectively, and enjoying themselves in the process. However, that can sometimes be unrealistic. If your child struggles with a learning disability, that may not come as easy.
In general, children learn things differently. Whether it be from visual learning, practical application, or hearing how to do something, they have their own unique way of learning. It’s important to not set high expectations for them with consequences.
It’s fine to encourage them to do their best, aim for straight A’s, and seek out help for hard homework questions. However, putting your child down for not meeting your expectations won’t motivate them. In fact, it will make them feel bad about themselves in learning, and withdrawal in theri motivation.
By letting them make mistakes and figure out their own learning process, they will feel more motivated to do school their way. They won’t feel the pressure to meet any standards they know they cannot meet.
Although it’s healthy and normal to push them to try their best, don’t make them feel like they have to. Having positive encouragement and feedback for their efforts will help them feel accomplished even if they didn’t ace the exam.
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How to Help Your Child Feel Motivated in School: Reward efforts rather than the outcome
If you are only rewarding your child for good grades, and not the effort otherwise, that can be detrimental to them. It’s important to reward and highlight their efforts, even if they didn’t do too hot on something.
This could look like rewarding them for studying for something that they know is difficult and struggle with. Making flashcards and going over the set a few times is definitely rewardable! You can choose small rewards, such as allowing them a popsicle after an hour of studying.
Oftentimes we hear “if you get all A’s, you will get this toy”. That can help in motivation, of course, however don’t let that be the sole way they will be rewarded. Congratulate them for doing a good job and making great effort to get that A.
You want to send the message to them that hard work pays off. If they keep trying something difficult, it will teach them the pleasure of pushing themselves independently. This can look like, “Wow, great job trying on that quiz!” or “You worked really hard on learning that today, and I can see it.”
Even creating your own mini quizzes to help them learn the material can be rewarded as you see their efforts. By collaborating with your child, you can teach them that you respect their hard work and dedication over pristine grades.
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How to Help Your Child Feel Motivated in School: Get outside support
It can be stressful being both a parent and teacher for your child. You may not be familiar with the curriculum they are learning, and feel frustrated. You want to help support them during homework, but maybe you don’t understand the math or science question either.
There are different resources available for you and your child. Things such as tutors, IEPs, or having a learning disability testing done can help make education run much smoother. Tutors can help target specific areas of curriculum your child may struggle with. IEPs, or individual education plans, can help curate the curriculum to your child’s needs. Finally, a learning disability assessment for your child will help clarify why they may struggle in learning.
You can receive support as well. By seeing an individual therapist, you can address concerns of your own. Maybe you get frustrated during homework time because as a kid, you disliked it. Maybe you’re unsure of your accuracy or abilities to teach your child something. It could be that your child has tantrums or outbursts during homework time which leaves you feeling stuck.
By receiving outside support, you and your child can get through tough times. It can be hard watching your child get frustrated and struggle with their course materials. You may even feel judged by other parents if your child is having a hard time learning.
Consider looking for parent support groups as well. They are available to help parents feel validated and heard with their concerns towards their child. It’s important that you also have a space to release worries and concerns!
If you find yourself getting too frustrated or angry trying to work with your child, take a step back. Try to understand with a psychologist why these negative feelings may be coming up for you.
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Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, offers your child emotional support that will last throughout their childhood.
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