Getting your child through school can be harder on you than it is on your child. You want to foster success without doing all the work. What’s a parent to do? Motivate.
Here are some tips for boosting your child’s motivation.
Be positive. The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement emphasizes the power of positive engagement between student and teacher and between student and parent. Your child is not going to be excited about learning if you’re not excited about learning. Even if 18th-century Victorian poetry doesn’t excite you, fake it because it obviously excites your child’s teacher. Don’t bad-mouth your student’s teacher. If there’s a problem, contact the teacher directly and solve it.
Encourage your student to keep an agenda. Organization is a skill that will reward students for a lifetime. It will also motivate them to prepare and do assignments. It will help you know what’s coming up just in case you need to provide external motivation.
Use technology. Most teachers provide lessons, assignments, notes, study helps and all those things you could have used when you went to school, and it’s only a mouse click away. Help your son or daughter access this information and provide external motivation when needed.
Set goals. Sit down with your child and ask (don’t tell) what he or she wants to accomplish during the school year and in life. How much more effective is “If you really want to become a marine biologist, you’re going to need to improve that science grade” than “You better do your science homework or I’m going to do something you won’t like”?
Reward success. How you reward your child is your choice. Encouraging words never fail, even for small successes. Money can work, too.
Be supportive. Encourage your child to get involved in school activities and be supportive. Even if you don’t enjoy speech and debate, go watch and listen to your son or daughter’s oratorical brilliance. If you prefer rock 'n' roll but your son or daughter prefers marching band, develop an interest in marching band. It will make a huge difference.
Follow what your child’s doing in class. It’s never been easier to find out what’s going on in your child’s class. Find out what book he or she is reading and read it, too. Look at what science labs are coming up; see if there are any science projects you can do at home and do one. Take a look at upcoming history topics and do a little research. You’ll be surprised what you could learn from a school book.
These tips won’t guarantee straight A’s but they can help students find a little motivation.