We all know the importance of good education, which is why we push our children to achieve academic success. However, too much stress and pressure on children to do well in academics can cause them to start disliking school and shun studies.
As a parent, for your child to do better in studies, you need to help her learn how to manage her time and establish a daily routine for homework, study and other activities. Not only will this prevent her from feeling stressed, but also motivate her.
Here are some effective strategies that can help you encourage your child to study better and develop an interest in academics.
Strategy 1 – Create a positive learning environment
Let your child know that your love and support for him are unconditional, and not tied to how he performs in school. So, create an environment of warmth, acceptance and encouragement.
We all crave appreciation for a job well done, and children are no different. Highlight your child’s achievements and progress, using positive reinforcement to build self-motivation. This approach is far more effective than punishing him for his failures. Also, avoid using rewards or gifts as a bribe to make your child do what you want him to do.
Most important of all, avoid comparing your child’s academic performance with that of his schoolmates, siblings or other family members. Instead of motivating him to try harder, this approach is likely to decrease his interest in studies by making him feel discouraged. Giving him long lectures and using threats or manipulation will not help either.
Strategy 2 – Give control and choices
You could draw up a study plan for your child to follow, but it’ll be wiser to get her involved in planning and organising her study schedule.
Begin by allowing her to make simple choices such as choosing a desk and chair for her study area, the part of the house where she wants to study, and which subjects to study first. Let her take more complex decisions as time goes by, such as how much time she should spend on studying a specific subject, doing homework and revisions, watching TV or playing and so on.
This strategy will help nurture your child’s sense of independence and self-awareness, as well as the learning skills she will need throughout her life. It will also demonstrate to your child that you trust her decision-making skills and abilities.
Strategy 3 – Know the areas of struggle
Every child learns at a different pace. Trying to meet high expectations of parents is a common reason for stress and lack of motivation in children, when it comes to academic performance.
Review your child’s homework and his performance in tests from time to time. Ask him if there are topics or subjects that he thinks are difficult to understand. Listen with attention to what your child says and make it clear to him that he can approach you with his problems at any time. Also, speak to his teachers to find out about his strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important for you to understand what kind of help your child needs, so you can provide it to him.
Strategy 4 – Help with studies, but don’t take over
When you sit down with your child to help her with her studies, instead of just monitoring and giving instructions, also offer your support and encouragement. Also, don’t correct her mistakes the moment you spot them. Instead, encourage her to find her mistakes and correct them on her own. Step in only after she has tried her best. And, when you give instructions, remember to break down difficult concepts or topics into simpler parts and be specific.
Understanding your child’s interests and preferences can go a long way towards helping her with studies. If your child likes to study alone, give her the space she needs. If she prefers your company, remain nearby but carry on with your work. Make it clear that you’re there to help her with problems, and not to do her homework for her.
Strategy 5 – Be a good role model
Children learn by example, and they are more likely to do things the way they see other adults doing them, especially their parents and family members.
If you want to motivate your child to study, help him learn the right habits by setting an example. Avoid procrastinating or complaining about your own work and household chores in front of your children and project an air of confidence when dealing with challenges. You’d be surprised how quickly your little one picks up on this!
Try to schedule your work around your child’s study routine as well, to avoid distractions such as noisy housework or a blaring television. Also, encourage other family members to wear earphones if they’re listening to music or watching television.
Motivation can be internal or external, and, as a parent, you’re in the perfect position to help your child understand what motivates her. Also, remember that disinterest in studies may signal other problems, so talk to your child, be a good listener, and provide extra help such as tutoring for extra study materials.
Dana Jandhyala is an educator who helps students with personalised online tutorials through MySchoolPage.
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