How to motivate a child to learn


As children grow older, they are entrusted with more responsibility for their education. While some students are motivated to earn high grades, others are reluctant to learn the basics of the school curriculum. Today, we’ll explore how to properly motivate a child to learn.

How to motivate a child to excel in learning?

Seeking motivation in a positive way is very important for developing the right habits in a child. Forcing a child to study can trigger protest, making it much harder to master the school curriculum.

So, how can you develop a child’s interest in learning at different ages? Read these tips to help your child find motivation for a productive learning process.

Create a learning plan with your child

Having a clear learning plan will help your child stay on track. Make a plan to complete homework every day. Involving the child in the process will help maintain their interest and allow for an even distribution of tasks.

Your plan should include:

  • Time for completing homework;
  • List of subjects to be given time;
  • Break time;
  • Task priority (analyze what needs to be done first and what can be postponed to another day).

This rule is best introduced from the first days of a child’s education in school. Such tactics will help develop a child’s systematic approach, and a large amount of material will not be overwhelming for them.

Praise effort, not just results.

American psychologist and researcher Carol Dweck explains how to motivate students to learn without praising them for their abilities or results, but for their efforts. In her article for Scientific American, Dweck states:

“Many people believe that high intelligence or natural abilities are the key to success. However, over three decades of research have shown that an excessive focus on intelligence or talent makes people vulnerable to failures, fear of problems, and a lack of motivation to learn. Teaching people a ‘growth mindset’ rather than focusing on intelligence or talent leads to high achievement in school and in life. Parents and teachers can shape children’s growth mindset by approving of their persistence or strategy (not their intelligence), telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning.”

Eliminate the stress factor

If a child is under stress, it may be difficult for them to learn, and finding motivation in such a situation may be impossible. Help the child relieve stress by spending time with them. This way, you will learn about the psychological barriers that the child is facing.

Make sure the child has enough time every evening or on weekends to dedicate to themselves. Discuss what they can do during breaks in studying or after homework. Let’s consider options for psychological “relaxation” for children of different age groups:

  • Regarding how to motivate a preschooler to learn, try to diversify the child’s leisure time with active games, watching cartoons, or coloring. Pay attention to communicating with preschoolers – this way they will have the opportunity to express themselves and share their concerns.
  • When it comes to motivating a first-grader to learn, suggest a walk, organize a movie night, or offer their favorite game as a relaxation activity.
  • If you are considering how to motivate a teenager to study well, it would also be helpful to offer outdoor leisure time to relieve stress for this age group, communicate with friends, or dedicate free time to hobbies.

In fact, there are countless ways to motivate children to learn. Knowing the needs and desires of the child can lead to their mental harmony and a productive learning process.

Teach your child to achieve small victories

It is very important to interest the child in setting small, achievable learning goals based on what needs to be done.

To make it clearer, here are examples of how to motivate a teenager to learn by achieving goals:

  • “When you master examples that are solved strictly by formula, you will find an approach to more complex tasks”;
  • “Highlight important points in the paragraph. Thus, you will understand the essence of the topic, be able to think, and not get confused in answering any teacher’s question”;
  • “This poem is quite voluminous. Let’s start learning it in advance. I’m sure that with this approach, you will tell it most expressively and get the highest grade.”

This tactic develops perseverance and determination, as well as increases self-confidence when the child achieves the set goal.

Try different approaches to learning

There is no universal method for teaching all children – each student has their own way of thinking and perceiving material. While a certain approach can be developed for younger students, motivating a teenager can be much more difficult. When a child learns using a method that does not match their learning style, they may become discouraged in their abilities. Try different approaches to discover how they best absorb information and how to motivate them to learn in the future.

Why does a child lack motivation to learn?

A child may lack motivation to learn for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of understanding of the material;
  • Incorrect teaching tactics;
  • Stress before classes;
  • Low self-esteem.

Identifying the problem will help you and your child develop a plan to overcome the barriers that hinder learning both in school and with homework.

Support your child when needed. When a child is confident in their parental support, they can develop confidence in themselves. We hope our tips on this topic will be helpful.

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