So many parents wonder how to motivate kids to learn! In too many classroom settings, kids are fed a dry lecture and a boring schedule on a daily basis. Social distractions, such as texting friends, doesn't improve the situation. While there are many good, creative teachers, there are also those who fail to capture the attention of their students. Discipline issues and large class sizes can make matters worse. By the time kids reach middle school, learning becomes a chore that ranks with doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. As parents, we know the value of learning and education. Kids don't have the same perspective. We've got some solutions on how to motivate kids to learn. Let's take a look at some strategies you can put in place today.
1.It's never to early, or late, to start cultivating their natural curiosity. Take the case of a preschooler, playing in the back yard. Everything is new and they want to inspect every rock, flower, lizard and bug they can find. At this age, you don't need to motivate kids to learn – they want to learn everything they can. In fact, you may find yourself rushing over to say 'no' to some potentially dangerous find, such as a clump of poison oak. The more kids learn, the more they want to know. This is a natural stage in child development. So don't squelch this natural tendency with too large a dose of over-protectiveness. You can supervise kids and keep them safe while still encouraging their natural curiosity.
If you're trying to motivate older children to learn, you can implement a variation on this strategy. If your child comes home from school complaining of a boring lesson in math, try a practical approach. You can begin by sympathizing with them on the lack of apparent value in the lesson. “I remember thinking the same thing when I was your age. Why do I need to know how to divide? As I got older, I wished I'd paid more attention. I shared a yard work job with a neighbor kid. We were paid $10 to clean up the yard every week. When we were paid, this kid gave me $3 and he pocketed $7! It was quite a while before I realized I was being cheated because I didn't learn division in math class!”
2.Homework assignments don't usually come with motivation, other than penalties for failing to complete them. Take the time to sit down with your kids after school and review the homework assignments. You'll quickly spot those which need a little inspiration. Let's say your child's assignment is a biographical report on Napoleon Bonaparte. Unless the teacher has provided interesting background information and inspired a desire to motivate kids to learn more about this historical figure, you may find them asleep over this chapter in their French history book. Get on the net and research Napoleon's strange and history making life. Kids respond to information that makes the guy a real person, rather than a flat figure that everyone's heard of, but can't relate to – he's been dead for quite some time! Find information on the culture of the time to bring him to life. Compare him to contemporary culture and values. If your child can see how he fit into the scheme of history and how he impacted society as we know it today, this can motivate kids to learn more about history. The same is true of any subject matter.
3.Teaching your kids critical thinking skills is one of the best ways to motivate kids to learn. Encourage them to ask, “Why?” Many parents unintentionally discourage their kids to ask why, because this can drive a parent to distraction. However, when you make a diligent effort to answer every “Why?” with a legitimate and logical answer, you're nurturing a curious mind. One thing leads to another in this case. Once a child understands why, they want to know how. This teaches a child to question what they learn, not just accept everything they hear.
4.Developing problem solving skills is a great way to motivate kids to learn. Teaching these skills need not have any relation to school work. For example, let's say you're roasting a chicken for dinner tonight. Consult with your child on how you can make that roasted chicken creative, not just the same old same old. Your kid will be delighted that you value their ideas – I remember how pleased I was, at age 10, when my Mom asked me for some ideas for dinner. This type of query will set problem solving skills in motion. You might get some very creative ideas. No matter how outside the box, give that idea a shot.
5.Educational TV is not just for nerds! The Discovery channel, Animal Planet and the History channel have excellent programs that kids enjoy and which motivate kids to learn. Learning about the environment, animals from around the world and history can become a fascinating watch for kids that they might never find in a classroom. Such programming can foster renewed interest in otherwise boring textbook dissertations.
When you motivate kids to learn, you're giving them tools and a methodology on which they can rely for a lifetime. Nurturing a love for learning is a recipe for success without compare.