Parents sometimes think that it’s impossible to motivate their children. That’s not surprising. Often, battles over doing homework and finishing projects, result in frustrating stand-offs. Motivation is complicated, but one way to approach it for parents to have expectations. Expect them to succeed, let them know you have confidence in their abilities and watch children strive to fulfill your expectations.
It is also important that parents communicate honestly with their children about their strengths and interests, along with their weaknesses and areas of less interest. This open dialogue helps parents adjust their academic expectations accordingly. A flair for art should be encouraged, while disinterest in math may require a tutor along the way.
Helping students set goals can be a motivator for kids. As adults, we have learned that goal-setting turns expectations from ideas into reality. Sitting together and developing a plan for accomplishing a goal can be a rewarding experience for both parent and child. It’s advisable to begin with short-term goals. Raising the score on a spelling test is achievable and measurable. Work out a step-by-step plan of practice and study to raise the test score. When a child sees results, goal-setting becomes a powerful tool!
Parents should be encouraged to discuss a child’s learning style with the classroom teacher. Understanding whether a child is an auditory, kinesthetic or visual learner can make a significant difference in achievement. Children are motivated when parents and teachers understand and support their individual learning styles.
A final word about praise and encouragement. While it is important to acknowledge a job well done, it is not necessary, nor is it advisable to lay on the praise for every small achievement. Research studies demonstrate that it can even have a negative reaction. Use praise in moderation when it is genuinely deserved.