If you’ve got a young child at home, chances are, you’re quizzing yourself on how to encourage them to be studious, motivated children and learners at school, and to contribute positively in their class.
It needn’t be a challenge to motivate your child at school. Many good habits start at home, and you can instil good learning habits from home.
Learn outside of the classroom well as inside it.
While most teachers and parents limit learning to the classroom, for your child to be an avid learner he needs to feel that learning can happen in and out of the classroom.
For example, when you are going for a walk, appreciate the colour of leaves on a tree, how a sycamore seed floats off a twig, and the spiral pattern it falls in, like a helicopter. Every observation doesn’t have to turn in to a science lesson, just notice the caterpillar hiding in a leaf, and maybe mention one day soon it will become a butterfly.
These learning moments teach a child learning is fun and there are many learning opportunities all around us, at all ages.
Develop an atmosphere of reading.
Encourage your child to read posters, flyers, newsletters, books comics, poems…. The list goes on. Create a family habit of reading, so your child is raised in a household where reading books, newspapers, novels etc is common.
Have magazines and comics and literature that appeals to all ages in your house. This way the child will feel at home with reading. Children who struggle with reading, struggle to learn. Make a habit of reading to your children from infancy, so you instil a love of reading in them.
Make it a habit to read in the afternoon or at bedtime. So she becomes familiar with genres of all types, be it fairy tales, dinosaur encyclopaedias, word searches, or comics. The more exposure your child has to books and reading, the more likely they are to want to continue the habit of reading as they grow.
Help your child be organised
Encourage your child to have his bag arranged every night before school. To have a learning area at home, with his supplies and equipment tidily placed and easy to locate. Also help him keep a homework diary, so he knows when assignments are due. This is confidence building and a child who is relaxed and knows where his things are is well placed to be in a motivated mood for the rest of the day.
Encourage your child to develop their interests
Find hobbies and passions that your child has, and develop these. Whether it’s a passion for art or basketball. Encourage her to build on her strengths. This developers confidence and sense of achievement. If your child likes learning about aeroplanes, get related books and games to enhance their knowledge and familiarity with the topic, let them explore the subject in depth, using different skills, reading, modelling, painting and art.
Focus on your child’s strengths
Celebrate achievements, if your child has done well on a spelling test, and not so well in a science project, focus on the wins. This will motivate your child and encourage them to keep focused and teach them that learning is rewarding. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in reinforcing strengths.
Learn a little every day
Observing the wonders around you, marvelling at nature and maybe mentioning a fact here and there, categorising, labelling items and so on can make everyday a learning experience. Make connections with what you observe and encourage critical thinking. Make the world a fun place to explore. This will help your child be intrinsically motivated to learn and view learning as a positive skill.
These are small steps to making a big difference to your child’s skills and attitudes. Remember the first place a child learns is at home with their parents and the influence you have over your child’s motivation and experiences is huge. Inculcate the best habits and encourage motivation, wherever and whenever you can!