Every child needs to get the most out of their education. So long as they do their best, every grade is worth celebrating.
Of course, motivating your child to study can be decidedly more challenging – especially if they don’t have much of a taste for it, which is valid. Not everyone is academically minded. Still, every child should give their education their all before moving on to a life of work and paying bills.
How you engage your child matters here. After all, some of them can be subject to far too much pressure from their parents, with world-leading institutions acknowledging how toxic these situations can become if moms and dads aren’t careful. You shouldn’t be scaring them into submission.
What’s the right way to go about motivating your child? Here are some pointers that should hopefully help you.
Make Studying Fun
Studying can be fun. Your kid may not believe that immediately, but it’s true!
Studying will be far less enjoyable and more awkward if you try to force that sense of joy. So, it’s important to be informed first to know how to engage. You may find that your research suggests lots of tools and learning games, and scoping them all out can help you see how much they might appeal to your child.
You could also recommend resources on how to make studying fun to your kids. Much of it is written for them anyway, and they can feel more like they’re taking control of their learning schedule rather than being forced to grin and bear it by their parents. They can learn about joining study groups, how to make creative notes, which apps are helpful, and how to manage their time to maximize enjoyment. It can shake things up for them!
Communicate with Their Teachers
While you probably shouldn’t be regularly firing off messages to your child’s teacher (they have lives, too, you know!), having loose contact with them could motivate your child. But how?
Well, staying in touch with their teacher shows you’re invested in your child’s education. You may be kept in the loop regarding significant developments in your kid’s academics before a parent-teacher conference and be more informed when broaching certain subject topics with them. Your child will know you genuinely care, which can sometimes encourage them to study.
Moreover, being more involved in this capacity also bridges the divide between home and school. While the former environment should primarily be for fun and rest, when your kids have homework they’re struggling with, they may be more likely to come to you for help or talk about any other concerns they have if they know ahead of time that you’re interested.
Of course, some lines shouldn’t be crossed here. It can break trust if your child suspects you’re conspiring with their teachers. Therefore, it’s important to frame things correctly and to merely state that you’re informally showing interest. Support them without interfering.
Ask Better Questions
Not every child likes talking about studying robotically while being judged. Subtly changing how you frame your study-related questions might help.
Instead of curtly asking, ‘have you done your homework today?’, you could gently ask, ‘what homework has your teacher given you?’ The second example still serves as a reminder once you’ve brought it up, but it also starts a dialogue that could get your kids in the mood for studying by its end. You won’t come across as overbearing, but once again, like you’re interested and like your kids should be too!
Another good example is replacing ‘what are you doing at school?’ with ‘did you learn anything new and interesting at school today?’ Even if the meaning is somewhat similar, the second option once again creates more room for conversation and highlights a more sincere interest than just checking in and monitoring your child. There’s an air of positivity with it all, too. Once again, the aim is to support, not interfere, wherever possible.
Mention Time Considerations
Children can be very busy when it comes to their academic pursuits. Being sensitive to that is important, but you could also encourage the development of that perspective too.
While revisiting academia in later life is possible and valid, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. At that point, there can be other adult responsibilities to contend with as well; managing a job, running a property, and generally having more obligations that require attention.
There’s also some criticism around higher education providers, with some stating that they need to do more to support working adults during their studies. So, while much can still be achieved, learning conditions aren’t the most ideal, and that’s worth acknowledging.
So, why do your kids need to know this? Well, it can help them understand that though there’s a safety net for them whenever they need it, the time they have now is the most optimum time they have to focus on studying. Reminding them of that may help them reevaluate their priorities and make the most of the opportunity they have before them.