Children are born with a natural motivation to learn about the world around them. In other words, they are born curious. Parents and teachers will help either encourage or suppress their curiosity.
This means that you, as a parent, have a crucial role to play in their academic success and can help them set a foundation for a prosperous life. Naturally, this is a challenge for all parents, especially if your kids are already struggling with finding the motivation to learn.
We’re here to help. Here are a few strategies that will get children more interested in learning.
Encourage Playful Exploration
Each child, when given the opportunity, will engage in play, regardless of age. Playful activities are instinctively motivating, but we can also direct them to present opportunities for learning and gaining new experiences. Some play-based activities for children of different ages include shape games, mixing colors, recognizing emotions by cards, puzzles, trivia games, etc. However, remember that kids need to have free independent playtime, as well.
Prioritize Social Over Digital Learning
Kids today spend a lot of time on their computers. While that is normal considering the age we’re living in, and while they definitely need to grow comfortable with tech, they also need to adopt knowledge in real-life social interactions. Even the most effective apps cannot replace face-to-face learning, especially when it comes to motivation. This means that you need to support your kids and guide them through the learning process.
Provide Enough Challenges
You’ve probably noticed how children get bored easily when a task is too simple to perform. On the other hand, they’ll usually get frustrated and lose motivation when a task is so complicated that it can be insuperable. That’s why you need to find small challenges that are appropriate for your child’s abilities but also intriguing enough to keep them interested.
Monitor Their Progress
It’s important for kids that their parents are up to date with their progress and learning process. This not only shows that you care but also allows you to track their development and determine which challenges to place in front of them. You can find many available pretests online that will help assess your child’s potential, but make sure to also keep track of their growth through conversation and support.
Give Them Some Degree of Independence
Children love their freedom, and they are more motivated to learn when they have some degree of independence. They are more encouraged to explore and pursue the tasks they feel are meaningful. Allow them to choose their projects or at least give them some wiggle room regarding how they’ll work toward the goal.
Be “Frugal” with the Incentives
When kids are rewarded for something they already feel motivated to do, they can start expecting compensation for their work. This can be harmful to their natural curiosity. Wherever possible, harness their inquisitiveness and eagerness to discover new things and for those discoveries to be a reward on their own.
Praise the Process, Not the Outcome
Parents love when their children get awards. This is natural. However, when you praise their medals, you are encouraging them to be reward-oriented rather than learning-oriented. This often results in children that shy away from challenges and avoid trying out something just because they’re not good at it (yet). This is why you need to praise the very process of learning and their willingness to try hard.
Nurture a Passion for Reading
Books are doors to other realms, paths to empathy, and food for those hungry for knowledge. If you encourage your child to read in their early years, they can adopt this habit for life. To help make reading a part of their lives early on, start with bedtime stories and continue through the years. Of course, once they can read on their own, it’s important to give them independence in choosing their reading materials.
Encourage Open Communication
Children can and should be opinionated, especially when it comes to them and their path. Inspire them to share their feelings and thoughts about what is going on with their education. When they feel you value their opinion, they will be eager to engage more in the learning process.
Introduce Different Types of Learning Styles
There are different types of learning styles (auditory, visual, verbal, social, logical, solitary, and physical). Some children have a dominant style, while others are more prone to a mix of various types. There is no right or wrong style, but that’s why it’s important to try out different learning styles until you find the one(s) that suit your child best. When you find the best one or a combination of several, you can use specific techniques derived from each style to improve the quality of learning.
Focus on Their Strengths
Sure, it’s important to improve those areas that are not your kid’s cup of tea. However, focusing on the weaknesses too hard can cause frustration and discouragement. Conversely, if you focus on what they are good at, you can contribute to healthy developmental and emotional progress. It’s a form of positive reinforcement that can provide additional motivation.
Parents, naturally, want their children to be successful. As a parent, you can play a major role in your children’s path to success. Your role resides mostly in support and encouragement, but you also want to provide guidance without being too controlling.