No matter what your child wants to be when he grows up, having a good education is crucial for future success. Every person, even those entering fields that do not require a college degree, will benefit from a solid education. Whether a young person aspires to be a doctor, teacher, car insurance agent or stay-at-home mom, success in school will open doors and pay off in the long run.
However, often it is hard to explain to children the importance of education. They cannot see the benefits to their lives in the long run. Many times, kids and teens feel that their parents and teachers are constantly hounding them to memorize lists of useless facts and trivial information.
Inspiring children to make an effort in school can be a challenge for many parents. Some kids do not try in school because it is difficult, while others have the ability, but are simply lazy. Some teens think that they already have their life planned out and none of the stuff with which they are being presented seems to apply to what they want to do in life.
The following ten tips may help you to motivate your children academically.
1. Slow Down Your Life.
If kids are rushing from one activity to another, they are probably too tired to focus on schoolwork. If family priorities are not on academics, children will not deem them important either. While scouts, athletics and music lessons are worthwhile activities, if you are upset about your child’s school performance, cutting back on extras may be the first step to correcting the problem.
Some children thrive on a busy lifestyle and can juggle it all effortlessly, but others need plenty of study time, not to mention a little down time in the evenings. Adjust the extra-curricular activities to fit each child’s energy level and needs.
2. Let Them See You Reading, Learning and Struggling.
Learning does not stop just because a person graduates from high school. Part of creating an atmosphere of learning in a home includes all members of the family valuing study, knowledge and education.
Demonstrate to your children the importance of lifelong learning by trying to learn something new yourself. Whether you just check out a new non-fiction book at the library each month or take an online college class, you need to show your kids that learning never stops. Too much interesting information is available for adults to simply spend every evening watching television. Find a passion to pursue, and feed your mind.
3. Have a Daily Study Time as a Family.
Instead of allowing children to spend their entire evening playing video games or watching television, have a daily study time. Even children who do not have homework will benefit from listening to audio books, looking over their lessons from the day or just practicing new art techniques.
Put on some soft music and join your children around the dining room table. Even if they don’t need your help in their schoolwork, you can work on the bills, write a letter to a friend or draw for just 30 minutes. You will keep up to date on what they are learning and be able to monitor their academic progress.
4. Remember That It Is Important for a Person to Be Well-Rounded.
Many families enjoy sports with their children. Other families think that the focus of a child’s life should be school. Some parents believe that children with artistic or musical talent should focus on their gifts. Yet, it is important for all people to be well rounded.
Athletic children do need a solid education, but intellectual children also need to be physically active. Find ways for the entire family to enjoy all aspects of learning and appreciate the talents of one another. You should also keep in mind that you don’t have to take formal lessons to enjoy sports, music or art with children.
5. Apply What They are Learning in School to Real Life.
Teach your children that school skills apply in the real world. Children may not realize that adults use percentages every time they apply for a loan or shop the sales. Knowing how to quickly figure costs per unit can save people money at the grocery store.
Another important skill is to use correct spelling and grammar. Everyone wants to be taken seriously, but sending e-mails full of spelling and grammar mistakes is not only unprofessional, but makes people seem ignorant, even if they are very intelligent.
6. Make a Bet With Him.
Is your child working on memorizing the states and capitals, or the Gettysburg address? Make a bet that you can memorize it before he can, or choose something else to memorize if you already remember what he has to learn. The winner gets to choose what is for dinner this weekend or the kind of ice cream that you will buy. Good-nature bets will motivate children if you can keep it light and fun.
7. Try to Make it Fun by Catering to Their Interests.
Does your son hate math? Why not teach him how to figure out a baseball player’s batting average or the free throw percentage of his favorite NBA star? Your daughter might enjoy figuring out how much a new pair of jeans would cost if the store marked them 25 percent off. All kids like money, so helping them learn to calculate sales tax or the amount they would earn after several hours of work will help them learn math in ways that are more interesting.
If your child has a book report due, help her choose a book about a historical person that she would not choose on her own. A boy or girl who likes sports might like reading about Jesse Owens or Dorothy Hamill. Since parents have a broader knowledge of history and life, they can make suggestions that might appeal to kids’ interests.
8. Make Sure That There Is Nothing Else Going on That Should Be Addressed.
If your child has an undiagnosed learning disability, she may struggle with school for reasons that she doesn’t understand herself. Alternately, an extremely gifted child may quit trying at all if the work is so easy that he is bored.
Teen depression can cause kids to quit caring about school, as can a bullying situation that is getting out of control. If a previously motivated child suddenly stops caring, parents need to step in and figure out the deeper motivation behind the problem.
9. Remind Your High School Students That College Is Just Around the Corner.
Even if a kid will never use geometry in his occupation, he will need to take and pass standardized tests to get into college. By simply scoring well on a standardized test, he will access thousands of dollars of scholarship and grant funds.
The algebra that is such a headache can earn a student thousands toward college. Therefore, even an art major will benefit from good grades on a standardized test.
10. Find a Summer Job for Your Teen.
Many teens that do not have to cover the cost of basic living expenses think that having a minimum-wage job will be fine. They may not realize that getting up every day to do the same monotonous work all day long can be tiresome. They also don’t realize that they will have to work very hard at crummy jobs to just barely scrape by.
Allowing your teen to take a crummy summer job will give him a taste of what the rest of his life will be without a solid education and a plan for the future. Although there is nothing wrong with honest, hard, physical labor, most people use those types of jobs as a stepping stone instead of a way of life. Allowing your child to do these jobs will motivate him or her to do well in school.
Keeping kids interested and involved in school can be a difficult thing. Parents must talk to their children and take the time to try to motivate them to do well. By demonstrating that you not only want them to learn, but you are learning too, you will show that learning is a lifelong process.
Author: Jessica S.