In an ideal world, our kids would always be eager to get straight onto their homework as soon as they came in the door or would happily study away for hours each day before an exam. But as most parents know, this isn’t always the case. Every parent wants their kids to succeed, and it can be frustrating when it seems like your kid is just not that motivated about doing their schoolwork. Even more so when they’re studying a challenging curriculum such as the IB programme, as offered by this Shanghai International school. How can a parent help? Here are some steps to take.
#1 Figure out how much encouragement is needed
The first thing to ask yourself is it’s necessary for your kid to completely change their approach (or lack thereof) to studying or if they just need some gentle encouragement to push themselves that little bit harder. Is your child doing poorly in school, do they not even try to study at home, are they always making excuses as to why they can’t do their homework? If this is the case, then your kid needs to rethink their approach to school entirely, and your effort will need to be the main catalyst for this. If it’s just a case of them occasionally getting distracted while studying, then a gentler approach should do just fine.
#2 Get to the bottom of why they’re not motivated
Without accusing them, ask your kid if there’s anything that’s stopping them from getting their schoolwork done – perhaps they’re struggling with the material, they’re worried about something, or have been feeling overworked. Try to come up with a solution for the problem, which might involve speaking to your child’s teachers.
A common reason for poor motivation among school kids is not understanding the rewards of working hard at school. As adults, we get how valuable school is and know that the discipline and hard work that goes into it is worth it in the end. For kids, it can be hard to grasp the importance of something when the benefits are so far in the future. Think of it this way, even most adults wouldn’t want to go to work if they weren’t going to be paid for it until ten years down the line. Talk to your kid about how a good education could mean the difference between having a great career that they love or settling for a job that they do purely to get money.
#3 Keep the tone positive
Nobody likes to be nagged, lectured, or made to feel inadequate. Telling your kid to do something with a hostile tone will most likely make them want to do the opposite. Stay as open, respectful, and positive as possible.
#4 Introduce short term rewards
As mentioned, kids can feel like getting school work done isn’t rewarding, at least not as rewarding as having fun playing their new video game. Use this to your advantage – introduce a new rule where they have to finish their homework or do two hours of studying before they’re allowed to play games, go to a friend’s house, play outside, etc. Sure, it would be great if they wanted to do this without the prospect of a reward, but with kids, if it works, it works.
#5 Model the behavior you want to see
Another hard thing about being a kid is feeling like it’s unfair that you have to do extra work outside of school when the adults around them can come home from work and just relax. If your kid always sees you watching TV or browsing on your phone, it can make them feel less motivated to get their schoolwork done. Turn this around – let them see that you like to learn. Try reading a fiction or non-fiction book while your kid does their homework or study something that will help you with your work or just for fun. This will show your child the value of learning and help them feel less alone in their studying.Want to find out some more ways to help your kids with their studies? Shanghai international school Read some additional tips here, or speak to your child’s teacher to see what they can recommend.