Ready to see your child succeed in school and life? Learn how to motivate kids of all ages when they’re feeling uninspired with our 5 easy tips.
We’re halfway through the fall school semester and many students are already dreaming about holiday break. As the initial back-to-school excitement wears off, you may be wondering how to motivate kids to reach their full potential in school, sports, and everyday life. At Boys & Girls Clubs, we see this pattern happen every year and we’ve learned some tricks to overcome mid-semester slump! To help you out, here are our five strategies for motivating teens and kids to succeed:
1. Set Goals and Make Plans to Succeed Together
When young kids or teens aren’t succeeding, their motivation can turn to frustration and they may eventually stop trying. When this situation occurs in school or outside activities, help shift their negative attitude toward the activity into a positive one. The first step is to encourage them to create realistic short-term and long-term goals, along with step-by-step plans for achieving them.
During the initial stages of frustration, guide your child toward success by showing them how to organize their time, troubleshoot the issues that arise, and begin to master any necessary skills. Once you’ve started your kid on the right path, resist the urge to hover and critique their every move. They’ve got this!
By accompanying these goals with little rewards, like video game time, a favorite snack, or even a fun outing, you can increase their self-confidence and make the activity seem manageable — and maybe even fun!
2. Avoid Nagging or Using Put-Downs
As a parent or caregiver, it’s understandable for you to feel upset or anxious when your child shows no motivation for school or activities. However, if you approach them from a place of negativity, your tactics will only backfire. When faced with a yelling, nagging, or begging parent, an unmotivated child will typically respond in one of two ways: they temporarily work harder to appease you, or they dig their heels in further and rebel. Either way, there won’t be any long-lasting changes to their motivation levels.
If there are any underlying difficulties causing their lack of motivation, your child is less likely to confide in a visibly aggravated adult. For instance, they might feel too ashamed to admit they’re struggling to succeed because of difficulty learning, a bullying situation, or another stressor. They should be comfortable coming to you for support and help finding a solution.
3. Make the Task Relevant to Your Child
Children are more likely to care about their classwork if the assigned tasks are relevant to their own life. Think about what motivates your child, then ask yourself, what are their goals and ambitions? Let’s say your son wants to be a veterinarian but he’s getting poor grades in science class. Explaining how working hard now will help him achieve his future goals could help to inspire him to focus and study harder.
4. Always Use Positive Reinforcement
Whether you know it or not, your approval means the world to your child. When you see them working hard to succeed, be generous with your praise, hugs, and high-fives. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way in improving children’s attitudes about a difficult class or homework assignment.
5. Find an After-School Tutor or Program
Sometimes you need to ask for outside help. Finding suitable after-school resources, like a specialized tutor or program, can offer vital support when a child is struggling to excel. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, we offer programs designed to help students succeed in their school studies, extracurricular activities, and daily lives.
-Boys & Girls Clubs of America, October 18, 2018