We only want what’s best for our kids. We want them to do well in their studies, become achievers, and eventually, realize their dreams when they grow up.
But the question – How to motivate a child to study? – is a tough one for many parents – including yours truly.
But don’t fret.
This guide is for us – moms and dads who have gone to great lengths to make learning interesting for our kids but with little success.
Read on and discover science-backed ideas to rekindle your child’s love for learning.
Now, before we begin, let’s start with the basics first. What is learning?
By definition, learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.
Using this definition, we can say that education isn’t limited to the confines of a classroom.
Even day-to-day experiences, for instance, can be an excellent educational tool for your kid. And so are child-friendly educational websites.
On the other hand, we may be committing mistakes that sabotage our child’s inclination to learn and discover new things.
The Most Common Mistakes Parents Must Avoid
To deal with your child who is seemingly uninterested in learning and studying, you should assess your approach first.
Are you doing enough?
Or perhaps you’re doing too much?
Here are common parenting mistakes that can take out the joy of learning from kids.
Believing Your Kid Is Perfect
Whether we admit it or not, most parents hate hearing anything negative about their kids. It hurts, and we tend to think it’s an indication of ‘bad parenting.’
The truth is, your child will make mistakes along the way, and it’s only natural.
However, if you instill into your child that he or she is perfect, failing becomes a big problem.
Worse, however, they’ll lose interest in picking up new skills and knowledge because they were raised thinking they should able to do anything – on the first try.
Address these ‘imperfections’ early on before the situation gets out of hand. The last thing you want is allowing the problem to go on for so long that it becomes a part of your kid’s identity.
Getting Too Competitive
Behind every outstanding student are proud parents. Nothing wrong with that per se.
However, parents may pressure their little ones into doing anything to get the number one spot in everything they do. Learning becomes a competition in this scenario.
Instead, tell your children that they need to work hard without losing their character if they want to achieve amazing things.
Focus on learning as a way to improve oneself – not to show one’s intellectual superiority over other kids.
And I can’t stress this enough…
Should they fail, let them know that it’s alright and that they can do better next time.
All Work, No Play
In their quest to raise the ‘best’ kid in school, some parents treat kids like athletes – enforcing strict rules and tight, unforgiving regimens.
Such an approach is OK if you’re training a marathoner or a basketball team for competition. But for raising kids into responsible adults and life-long learners? The ‘all work, no play’ route is terrible.
Children need to learn — that’s a fact. But they also need to play and experience what a child should. Let them enjoy their younger years as they only get to have one. Let them have fun and enjoy life to the fullest.
Let them explore their interests without fear of failure or harsh criticisms from you.
With the typical mistakes out of the way, we’ll now look into the different types of learners and how this knowledge can help you motivate your kids to study.
The Four Different Types Of Learners
Every kid learns differently. If you think your child is ‘falling behind,’ it’s possible that the methods you use don’t align with the way he or she prefers to learn.
One popular theory about the primary types of learners is the VARK model. It stands for Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic. Understanding which type of learner your child is can help you determine what methods you can use to motivate him or her to study.
They see the information and visualize the relationship between ideas. Learners under this type are more in favor of learning from pictures, diagrams, graphs, etc. as opposed to written words.
Tactics: Start by showing your child pictures of the material they need to learn and see how well they remember it. In younger kids, visual storytelling is an activity that both you and your kid can do. Some of the best websites for kids also use this visual-oriented approach.
Kids under this category prefer listening to spoken words and information. They like to recite information out loud to remember them. What works well for them are classroom lectures, group discussions and any other method that involves speaking and listening.
Tactics: Take the time to engage with your kids during or after a study session. Ask them to repeat what they have learned by asking questions. Doing so creates a win-win situation as you help your child learn and you get to bond together at the same time.
Readers and writers are more inclined to study using text-based input and output. Most of us need no introduction to text-based learning as it is a staple part of most classrooms.
Tactics: Reading manuals, writing essays, reports, and assignments — these are all examples of activities that your kid is already doing in school. At home, you can give him short quizzes as well to see how well he or she retained the lessons learned. However, don’t overdo this as your kid may get overwhelmed.
This bunch love hands-on and experiential learning. They learn best by doing things themselves compared to studying by reading or writing. Here, experience and practice are their best teachers.
Tactics: Make learning for your kid fun and entertaining. You can incorporate role plays, for instance, so they can demonstrate the new and cool stuff they’ve learned.
How To Motivate A Child To Study – Tips For Parents And All Types Of Learners
Instill A ‘Growth Mindset’ In Your Kids
This mindset encourages a focus on ‘process’ rather than intelligence or talent, which produces high achievers in school and life. According to Carol S. Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University — this is the secret to raising smart kids.
As a parent, the following are things that you can do to teach your child this mindset.
- Don’t make your children believe that intelligence is something that’s innate and fixed. Instead, make them realize that they have to work hard and exert a lot of effort if they want to achieve something.
- Teach your child that it’s okay to feel helpless and fail sometimes. Help them treat failures as stepping stones towards getting better. Tell them stories about famous people in history like inventors who bombed countless times before finally getting things right.
- To be successful, they need to be mastery-oriented children. Perseverance can remedy any slipups that they’ll run into along the way. Simply put, the more they work, the better they’ll be at it.
Teach Your Child How Learning Works
Going back to Carol Dweck’s study, your child needs to understand that their intelligence is something that’s NOT predetermined. Like muscles in our bodies, the brain will get stronger the more we exercise it.
Everytime that we learn something new, our brain’s nerve cells form new connections or strengthen the existing ones — making us more intelligent. Do this, and you’ll give your child more confidence in themselves which is one of the primary ingredients of a healthy growth mindset.
Encourage Your Child To Open Up To You
Create an atmosphere where your child can freely express how he or she is doing in school. Make it appear like it’s just a casual talk between you and your child so he can open up.
Validate his feelings even if you disagree. Children are likely to lose motivation to study when they feel like their opinions or emotions don’t matter.
Assure them that they can tell you everything about their educational experiences without being judged, discouraged, or ignored.
Introduce Different Learning Styles
Earlier, we talk about the different types of learners. If you already know what type of learner your kid is, be sure to use the appropriate ‘tactics’. Do note, however, that there are some who prefer learning through mixed styles.
By helping your child figure out his or her preferred learning styles, you can use techniques that will improve rate and quality learning.
Use Educational Websites
In today’s world of digital technology, it seems it’s only natural to come across educational websites more often than before. And while it’s true that not everything online is for the ‘greater good,’ you’d find other resources out there that can help you and your child.
The best learning websites for kids are those that have essentials features such as:
- Truly educational
Without a doubt, having a child who performs well in school brings a great sense of pride and accomplishment to parents. However, parents need to understand that we need to raise the child that we have, not the child that we want.
It’s okay for us to dream big for our children as long as we don’t force them to fulfill it. It’s nice if they can live up to our expectations but if they don’t, tell them it’s okay, help them get up, and move on.