Set realistic goals for your child
Very few people are motivated by overwhelming pressure. If your child feels your expectations are impossible to achieve, like a certain grade or standard, then he may not even want to try at all, especially if he has failed in the past. What is important is that your child tries his hardest and puts in effort to improve his personal best.
Celebrate success and effort
Everyone needs to be motivated! Keep showing your child that you are proud of his or her achievements. Remember that this is not about results — the school system focuses on results, so it is important that you focus on effort.
Be enthusiastic and involved
Show an interest in your child’s school day. Ask questions about his classes, friends and activities. Get excited about what he is doing, share stories about your school days. If your child has a problem or concern about a teacher or subject, ﬁnd out more and help him come up with solutions to show him that perseverance and support can overcome obstacles that stand in his way of enjoying school.
Share the benefits of education
If your child is swamped with homework, he may well wonder what on earth this is all for and how it’ll relate to real life. Keep explaining to him the beneﬁts of a good education and discuss how it will affect his future. Ask your child what he wants to be when he grows up and discuss the educational path to get there. Personally, I have been trying to explain to my 9-year-old son that the likelihood of him just focusing on soccer and still be able to afford a Ferrari when he gets his licence is microscopically small! I need to keep working on that one.
Help him find activities he enjoys
Sometimes, children lose enthusiasm because they haven’t yet found an area of learning they are passionate about. Look for extra- curricular activities that excite your child. Sometimes, ﬁnding that activity, be it soccer, music, chess or ballet, may be all it takes to get your child bouncing out of bed and ready for the day!
Extend his interests
If you know that your child has a speciﬁc area of interest, then try to ﬁnd ways to expand that outside of the classroom. Museums, the theatre, air shows and many other exhibitions are all ways to help your child learn. Keep in mind that schools are only responsible for a narrow and limited number of interests as they cater for the masses. Offer him other experiences that appeal to him to enhance his interest in learning.
Article by Fiona Walker, principal director of Julia Gabriel Centre.