Do you dread and feel unmotivated to encourage your child to study?
Well, you’re not alone. This doesn’t mean that you have the sole responsibility of learning how to encourage your child to study. But it does mean that you need to get creative with strategies on how to inspire your child to study and maximize the time they spend learning at home.
1. Guide but don’t hover
Your first instinct may be to constantly be there for your child, sitting beside them as they calculate a tough math problem, or work their way through a particularly tricky comprehension passage.
But that’s not the way to motivate your child to study. In fact, it’s a one-way ticket to nervousness, a lack of confidence, and hesitation behaviours that your child will inevitably display.
Instead, you want to act as a guide. Here are a few examples you can use when learning how to motivate a kid to study:
- Give them strategies for how to approach a math question
- Offer resources they can consult to proofread and edit their English work
- Ask them questions that help them think about their homework differently.
- Drop little hints about key parts of the problem to focus on.
But once you do this, step away and let them work it out themselves. They should know they can always come to you for guidance but not have to worry about you watching them. That way, they can feel free to explore, make mistakes, and try again without the pressure of parental scrutiny.
2. Match incentives to the task
The incentive and reward system is a time-tested, proven method if you want to know how to motivate your child for studying.
So why does it have such hit-or-miss results?
In other words, incentivizing homework and study time to help motivate a child to study works — but it could work better!
Here’s the thing:
Most parents disconnect the task — finishing their homework — from the incentive or reward. So, for example, they’ll say something like, “If you study now, you can have ice cream later,” or, “If you study now, you can go outside and play later.”
This is not how you inspire a child to study.
In fact, this method is how to very quickly and effectively build up resistance and resentment in your child for studying. They will begin to relate studying to something “boring, tedious, and painful.” As a result, they will feel the reward is something they desire, whereas the work is something to rush through.
To learn how to motivate your child to study well, use the following strategy: Offer an incentive related to the task.
So, for example, if they need to finish their math lesson, the incentive you offer is some playtime with a related online math game or math app. Connecting incentives to the task helps kids feel that their homework and studying are fun and engaging, rather than an obligation or a chore.
3. Create a study plan — and allow your children to lead
Nothing works as well when it comes to how to motivate a kid to study than when they feel they are in control of their own time, their own day, and their own schedule.
If you dream of your child just effortlessly waking up and joyously choosing to study without having to constantly nag them, use this strategy.
Allow them to identify what’s most important and to plan their own day. Give them a calendar or a small organizer where you’ve already blocked out times for play, eating, baths, sleeping, and any other extracurricular activities they’re a part of.
Then, work with them to identify what the due dates for certain projects or homework studies are. Let them decide, based on these “broader” goals, what their own priorities for the day should be.
You’ll be amazed at the initiative your child takes when they feel they have their own say and a vested interest in how to craft their study time. Alternatively, you could also hire a tutor and allow these educational experts to create a study plan for your child. Then, simply have your child choose which part of the plan they want to work on that day.
4. Show an interest in all aspects of your child’s life
This may feel like Good Parenting 101 to you, but it’s worth mentioning.
Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Yes, it’s important to learn how to motivate your child to study well because you feel it’s connected with how well they do in the future.
You’re not wrong.
But stressing about their grades or constantly pushing them to do better is not the way to motivate a child to study. And that’s doubly true if your interactions with your child only revolve around this topic.
If the only time you find yourself getting involved is when they hit the books, your child will begin to feel that they’re only valuable when they perform — and perform up to your standards — rather than intrinsically loved and valued at all times.
So, if you’re paying attention to their studies, make sure to be just as keen and interested in helping them with their crafts, listening to their pretend stories, playing a round of footy, or whatever else they love to do.