As most any parent knows, motivating children to want to learn and do well in school is at times a challenge. There are a variety of reasons why a lack of motivation or apathy might occur. If your child is behind in required skills, such as reading, keeping up with the work and other students in the class can seem hopeless. On the other hand if you have an advanced or gifted student, he or she might be bored with the classroom pace.
There can also be a personality mismatch with the teacher. Not all teachers work best with all types of students. Another situation that sometimes occurs is when a child starts out as an eager learner and then as the youngster advances in grade school, interest wanes. Some children excel early in kindergarten, when learning is fun based. As they progress into higher grades they have difficulty accepting the work load without the fun.
Whatever the reason, there is no denying that success in school is often a determining factor of success later in life. So how can you, the parent, help your child become a life-long learner? Here are just 6 of the many ways that you can encourage this love of learning.
1. Eliminate all physical reasons why your child may not seem motivated to learn. A child who is hungry or tired is not going to be interested in what is going on in the classroom. Other physical causes for lack of motivation may be hearing or vision difficulties.
2. Ask questions about what your child is working on in school. Do this in a positive way; do not embarrass your child or get angry with them if they cannot answer the questions. Your interest and involvement can often spark motivation. You usually know your child better than anyone in the early years.
3. Communicate with your child’s teacher. Understand what type of behavior system the school has. Many teachers allow their students to earn extra privileges when they, for example, turn in completed assignments all week. Also talk to the school counselor and if needed the principal. Many times someone around the situation but outside the classroom will provide valuable insight.
4. Institute a similar learning environment at home that is aligned with the school learning system. Some children are seeking consistency.
5. Take family field trips. Exposure to hands-on learning activities outside of school fosters a love of learning that will carry over to the classroom.
6. Change teachers. Every personality is different and some people just naturally clash. If you’ve explored all other possible reasons for lack of motivation, a change may be necessary. Most schools are willing to accommodate if you take the time to “make your case.”
There are circumstances where a professional third party might be needed to help get to the root of an issue. When all else fails, consulting a professional is advisable.
by David McLeod
Owner School-Supply-List.com and Elementary School Teacher
David has been teaching elementary school in Central Texas for over 7 years and has over 15 years of experience in online education related websites and blogs.